Apps News Software Windows

When will Microsoft stop screwing up Skype?

Skype
New look: Skype's had more revamps than Rod Stewart

It’s hard to quantify what a terrible job Microsoft has done with Skype. Ever since the company bought Skype back in 2011, it’s been constantly tweaking and redesigning the app, turning something simple into a monstrous car crash. Now it’s at it again.

The latest Skype redesign

The latest plans for Skype are outlined in a blog post from the software’s Director of Design, Peter Skillman. In it, he says Skype is now focusing on “simplicity and familiarity”. 

If it’s so simple and familiar, why did I get a six-step walkthrough on how to use it when I opened the revamped Skype app on my iPad last night? It’s yet another hurdle getting in the way of the only thing I ever want to do on Skype: make a call.

Gone are two features that were part of Skype’s massive 2017 redesign: Highlights and Capture. 

These two features were naked Snapchat rip-offs. Capture let you press a button and record a quick video, and Highlights presented a curated stream of these videos and photos that you could share with your friends. Absolutely nobody used them. Or as Skillman puts it: “Highlights didn’t resonate with a majority of users.”

So Skype is once again “refocusing on the fundamentals” and making it easier for people to make calls or send messages without all this other guff getting in the way. And that’s fine with me, but Microsoft needs to do a hell of a lot more to make Skype great again.

How to improve Skype

The number one thing Skype must do to improve the service is let you assign a primary device for receiving calls. When someone calls me on Skype, any one of a half-dozen different devices may ring. 

There’s no rational logic to which device receives the call. Sometimes it’s my smartphone, sometimes it’s my iPad, other times it’s my laptop. The only thing you can guarantee is it’s not the device you want to receive the call on at the time.

Even when you pick the call up on one device, other devices continue to ring. We record the PC Pro Podcast using Skype, and the first five minutes of any podcast recording is spent trying to switch off all the devices that Skype is buzzing. It is fundamentally broken. 

So, Microsoft, in the politest possible terms: stop titting around with the Skype interface and just make a service that works, please. 

Now read this: How do I make Amazon Alexa voice calls?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: