Microsoft, owner of familiar and popular Voice over IP phone and IP video services since 2011, redesigned the familiar (classical) Skype interface last year and is now effectively phasing out the old Skype replacing it with a sleek and slim Skype 8. Skype 8 still provides video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, and mobile devices, via the Internet and to regular telephones via SkypeOut, a public network phone bridge. Besides these VoIP services Skype continues the instant messaging services and audio/video conference calls. Over the last two years Skype moved from being a peer-to-peer service to a centralized Azure-based service, which according to some users explains why the calling services seem to have gotten worse.
Skype received a significant, visible overhaul and redesign last year with some new features and improvements but also with some loss of familiar functionality. Major improvements are Skype’s HD Video support, and the integrated facility to record Skype calls. Most striking novelty however remains the total redesign of Skype which seems primordially focused on mobile users, and indeed Skype looks better on your smart phone now. The desktop version however takes some time to get used to and the option to open more than one chat window at the time is badly missed. It is obvious that Skype is addressing the social media generation trying to battle with WhatsApp and at the meantime keeping off competitors like Trello and Slack in the collaborative services market. (Freemium: free on all devices, additional services such as SkypeOut are paid services).