Ability of Android users to receive and respond to SMS messages in Skype to be phased out next month
Microsoft is removing some of the functionality with its Android-based Skype client, after it revealed it will be axing the SMS Connect feature on 30 August.
This is not the only change Redmond is making. Earlier this month Microsoft pulled out of e-book sales, meaning that Microsoft Store customers will lose access this month to books purchased or otherwise acquired from the Microsoft Store.
SMS Connect meanwhile is a feature on Skype on Android (available via Settings) that allows PC users to respond to one-to-one and group SMS conversations via Skype.
But now Microsoft has signalled the end of the feature.
“After limited availability, we decided to remove SMS Connect functionality from Skype,” Microsoft wrote in its support article. “SMS Connect will no longer be available after August 30th, 2019 but don’t worry, you can still find all your individual SMS conversations with full history on your phone.”
Microsoft’s decision to pull the pull on SMS Connect is part of an effort to drive uptake on its Your Phone app available on Windows 10.
Providing the user is using an Android device (running Android 7.0 or later) and a PC with Windows 10 (running 10 April 2018 update or later), it essentially pairs the ability of the phone onto your computer.
“If you want to continue reading and replying to SMS messages from your computer and you’re using Windows 10, we recommend you install and start using the Your Phone app from Microsoft,” said Redmond. “With this app, you can send and receive SMS or MMS messages, share photos between your phone and computer and more. The Your Phone app is continuing to evolve so stay tuned for more feature updates.”
But canny readers will notice an emission in that the Your Phone app doesn’t allow SMS messaging if the user has an Apple iPhone.
It redesigned Skype in 2017, that saw the addition of Snapchat-like features as part of a redesigned user interface.
That move angered many of Skype’s user base, who felt that the increasingly complicated features got in the way of Skype’s core uses of messaging and making phone calls.
And last year Microsoft had hoped to update its desktop app to look similar to its mobile app, when it said that Skype 7.0 (Classic Skype) was being retired on 1 September 2018.
It had urged users to upgrade to Skype version 8.0 in order to avoid loss of service, but following angry responses from Skype users, Microsoft carried out a u-turn and promised not to axe support for Classic Skype.
Microsoft had been facing a large number of holdouts for Classic Skype, as users were unhappy at the new version’s redesigned interface.
And users are also unhappy that Skype has now become somewhat slow and bloated compared to quick and lean versions of the past.
Skype is also currently being squeezed by the likes of WhatsApp, Messenger, and FaceTime in the consumer space.
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