Microsoft Forces Upgrade As It ‘Retires’ Skype Classic

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Skype classic holdouts are told to upgrade to version 8.0, as Skype 7.0 heads to the knackers yard

Microsoft has announced that Skype 7.0, otherwise known as Skype Classic, is being retired on 1 September.

Windows desktop users are being urged to upgrade to Skype version 8.0 in order to avoid loss of service.

Skype version 8.0 was actually released back in October 2017 for Windows 7, 8 and Windows 10. But the redesigned interface, coupled with GIF support and easier media sharing as Microsoft sought to replicate the mobile experience on the desktop, proved to be unpopular among most Skype users.

Upgrade now

This meant that Skype classic (version 7.0) had a large number of holdouts, but Microsoft in a blog posting has warned that they must upgrade by the start of September.

“We are encouraging everyone to upgrade now to avoid any inconvenience as only Skype version 8.0 will work after September 1, 2018,” blogged Redmond. “As we roll out improvements, there comes a time when we must shut down older services and application versions.”

This is the remarkably similar message that Microsoft told Windows Phone users in 2017 when it halted Skype support on that platform, forcing Windows Phone holdouts to use competitor products such as WhatsApp.

Microsoft for its part seems to recognise that not everyone is happy at the latest version of Skype, with users complaining of it being slow and somewhat bloated compared to quick and lean versions of the past.

“This is done to ensure that all customers have the best possible Skype experience, and that there are no quality or reliability issues resulting from old technology and new technology interoperating,” Redmond insisted. “We know change can be hard, so we’re working to make the update as simple as possible.”

Skype version 8.0 does already offer free HD video and screensharing calls and the ability to share photos, videos, and other files (up to 300 MB at a time).

New features

And Microsoft has now teased that version 8.0 will also get the following new features over the coming months, including read receipts (so you can see who has read your messages); private conversations (end-to-end encrypted Skype audio calls and send text messages or files); call recording; and group links to allow users to quickly get a group together on Skype.

Furthermore, Skype version 8.0 is also rolling out on the Apple iPad and will include features such as quoted messages, personalised themes, chat list, and @mentions.

Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in May 2011, which was at the time its largest ever acquisition.

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