Tuesday, 06 June 2017 13:15

Microsoft to abandon Skype on Windows 8 Phone, RT and TV

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Microsoft announced today it is killing Skype for Windows 8 Phone, Windows RT and TVs, while also removing support for the messaging app for anyone not on the Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update, among other platforms receiving the death knell.

Microsoft said that Skype for Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, the Messaging app for Windows 10 Mobile, Windows RT and also TVs would be permanently retired and could no longer be used in any way from 1 July. You won't even be able to sign into them.

Microsoft's email simply refers to "Windows 10 Mobile," with a lack of clarity that no doubt plunged the faithful few remaining into despair, with the utopian vision of "the year of Windows Mobile" sinking even further. Fortunately, a FAQ online provices greater detail on what the new system requirements for Skype will be. In this case, Skype for Windows 10 Mobile will still exist, while the Messaging app will no longer be supported for those running Windows 10 Mobile prior to the anniversary edition.

In past years, Microsoft has continued to erode its Windows 10 Mobile platform through selling its Nokia brand, to expanding Microsoft Office to Apple and Android devices, and now to killing off its own messaging app on its own platform. While making Microsoft Office available on a wider variety of platforms is ultimately a good thing, the point simply remains that for a company ordinarily spruiking the eating of its own dog food, it looks like it is just eating its own dog as far as Windows Mobile goes.

While Windows 8.1 Phone is several years old now, unlike PCs and laptops there is no clear upgrade path for any given Windows phone. It's not only older handsets that suffer; even the Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary edition's availability "varies with manufacturer".

With this update not even 12 months old, it seems a curious choice to further alienate the Windows 10 Mobile fan base, hitting home the realisation that the app marketplace isn't going to take off anytime soon.

On the positive, Linux users can now acknowledge Microsoft isn't unfairly singling them out for a second-rate Skype experience when soon Skype just will not work at all on a recent Microsoft platform, not to mention the Smart TV users who find their TV is now less smart.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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