Skype is one of the most widely used communications platforms across the globe. You may use it talk to grandma and some business in China might use it to connect with customers in the United States. Skype caters to hundreds of millions of people across the globe on a wide variety of platforms. This makes feature-parity across all of these platforms a headache. Microsoft might be making things easier for itself by launching a new Skype client for all platforms.
The report follows Microsoft’s closure of a Skype office in London and layoffs of 220 employees. Apparently, the decision to shut down the London office was made as the company moves towards a new universal Skype client for all platforms. It does make sense when you think about it. Skype is currently available as a Universal Windows Platform app for Windows 10, a desktop app for PCs powered by other iterations of Windows, as a separate app for iOS and Android, as a Windows Phone app for smartphones powered by Windows Phone 8.1 or lower, as a Modern app for Windows RT and there are even separate apps for macOS and Linux aside from Skype on the web.
That’s a lot to deal with and simplification certainly goes in the company’s favor. Arstechnica reports that Microsoft is developing a new “Skype for Life” client which will be cross-platfrom and compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. This client is reportedly being developed at Microsoft HQ in Redmond and now that this is the primary focus for Skype, many of the teams that were working on other versions of Skype are now redundant. Hence the closure and layoffs in London. Microsoft hasn’t confirmed any of this officially so take it with a grain of salt, even if it makes sense to simply Skype to just one client.