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back to article Please, PLEASE, Skype... Don't kill our apps and headsets, plead devs

Third-party Skype developers are rallying against a Microsoft decision that threatens to break the voice-chat service for partners and millions of users. A Change.org petition has been launched that calls on Skype, and owner Microsoft, to reverse their decision to kill the nine-year-old Skype desktop programming interface in …

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Same old, same old

Oh look, Microsoft shafting partners again. Admittedly the poor bastards didn't realize they were going to be Microsoft partners when they started, but it's the same old song with the same old refrain.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Same old, same old

What can I use instead of Skype ?

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Re: Same old, same old

Pick something:

https://lmddgtfy.net/?q=all+the+alternatives+to+skype

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1 out of 3 aint bad.

I doubt that phones and headsets rely on this API, unless they in turn depend on apps which rely on the API.

The key link in the chain being "apps". Specifically /desktop/ apps.

The reaction and participation on the petition - or rather the distinct lack there-of - is a pretty good indicator of the impact and importance of this API. The internet says "meh".

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Re: 1 out of 3 aint bad.

"The reaction and participation on the petition - or rather the distinct lack there-of - is a pretty good indicator of the impact and importance of this API. The internet says "meh"."

Except that most end users won't have a clue what all this means until they discover that the Skype peripheral they got given for Christmas last year stops working before this Christmas.

Ok, so perhaps there's not that many people out there who are going to care or even notice, but it is crap of MS to do this. The API was well established, used by quite a wide variety of hardware and software, wasn't doing any harm, and wouldn't have taken any effort to leave it in Skype alongside whatever new API MS want to introduce.

Gaining traction and market share in communications is a key business goal for MS, and they're not in an unassailable position. Skype is not the whole of the mobile comms market. Doing something that pisses off even a small portion of the customer base would seem to be a stupid thing to do.

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Re: 1 out of 3 aint bad.

I've seen 'skype phones' that function not just as USB audio devices, but also have a keypad for calling phone numbers, and will automatically answer an incoming skype call when lifted. I imagine the API is for those.

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Re: pissing off even a small portion of the customer base

is now standard MS operating procedure.

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Re: pissing off even a small portion of the customer base

Funny, I thought it was pissing off a LARGE portion of the customer base was the standard MS operating procedure.

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Re: pissing off even a small portion of the customer base

Who said pissing off small and large portions of the customer base were exclusive options?

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TJ1

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

"Embrace, extend, and extinguish", also known as "Embrace, extend, and exterminate", is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found was used internally by Microsoft to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

Ironically I think this is an attempt to snuff out some of the advantages of the traditional Microsoft desktop so that the flavour-of-the-month-UI version of Skype is not disadvantaged by comparison.

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I would have been rather annoyed by this...

I used to use an app that relied on the API.

"used to" being the operative term. Since I canned Skype, I don't have to worry about that, and any of the many other reasons either.

I still get urges from friends to contact them on Skype, and further badgering when I say I have nothing to do with that piece of crap anymore.

And you know, I haven't had a single reason to reconsider, and every time I read about it, it just gets worse.

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Re: I would have been rather annoyed by this...

I don't know what you are are talking about, I use Skype several time a week for business calls and it's an indispensable tool like any other MS Office tool. Nothing is perfect but it's more than fit for purpose.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I would have been rather annoyed by this...

"I don't know what you are are talking about..."

Err... he was talking about the fact that he no longer uses or needs to use Skype, wasn't that difficult to understand. Or did you think he said "Cavehomme2 never uses Skype any more".

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Windows

An award has been awarded!

For the world's longest oxmoron-

"...an indispensable tool like any other MS Office tool"

unless you know otherwise!

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Nothing to see here...

Microstuffed buys new toy

Microstuffed breaks new toy trying to 'improve' it

Move along now...

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Skype was dead as soon as Microsoft bought it.

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FAIL

Hah!

It was dead far earlier.

And I don't mean "mercilessly tortured by eBay in a damp cellar".

Why it even exists and hasn't been replaced by something that works and actually makes sense will forever be one of the mysteries of the Internet.

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They weren't kidding...

"They believe the HTML-based Skype URI interface lacks the rich functionality needed to build decent third-party services and products for Skype."

And they're right. Looks like all the URI interface allows you to do is start up Skype in one way or another, not access the audio/video data streams themselves. That's a severe curtailment of functionality!

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Re: They weren't kidding...

I'll have to stick with my current version, running in a Linux VM, to connect to SIPtoSIS - incoming Skype calls are routed to my SIP-based home phone system. Text-based IMs get ignored, as I don't keep the virtual desktop open.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They weren't kidding...

But sadly, no-one ever calls you.

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Every time. EVERY TIME.

Maybe it's my pessimism but every time a big company buys a smaller company, this kind of thing always happens.

Oh, there's always the requisite, glowing press releases, presumably typed with one hand while crossing fingers on the others. There are always big love-ins from both sides about the acquisition/merge being "Great news for our customers" and offering "opportunities to better serve their needs", gushing about how they are "looking forward to working with such a committed and talented team" and how their "insights, ideas and experience" and "shared vision for the future" will allow them to "provide new and innovative technologies"

But in the end, the acquired IP is re-branded, re-shaped and regurgitated, leaving what was once a useful, flexible product as nothing more than a vehicle for market share, losing everything that made it unique and usable in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

"Great news for our customers"

"Great news for our customers", "opportunities to better serve their needs", "looking forward to working with such a committed and talented team", "insights, ideas and experience", "shared vision for the future" etc are all random, computer-generated fluff for PR and marketing people. Probably are generated by the same program that creates wine descriptions (tangy, smoky, with a hint of chocolate and blueberry notes).

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Re: "Great news for our customers"

@AC

I think you're onto something there!

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FAIL

Re: Every time. EVERY TIME.

How about big company eBay who owned Skype before MS did?

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Re: Every time. EVERY TIME.

Big corporations are where really good ideas go to die.

It's built in to the culture.

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Re: "Great news for our customers"

Small product gets lots of useful and unique features.

Small product gets bought by big business.

Big business politics get in the way and maim the product so that it only works on a certain platform or with a certain type of ID.

Product stops being what it set out to be and loses its original customer base.

Skype is just one example. Photo Beamer is another (now Nokia only, no longer on iphone).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Every time. EVERY TIME.

That sounds exactly like the words used when EA bought the game middleware company I was in.

It also sounds like the same fate of the product (though it was starting to go wrong before EA).

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Anonymous Coward

Lync

Skype is so unreliable i cant believe anyone actually uses it. They should migrate everyone on to Lync!

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Re: Lync

Lync is very poor, that's probably one of the reasons they bought Skype.

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Re: Lync

If you think Lync is poor, you should try its predecessor, Office Communicator. That's what we're stuck using in the office. It's embarrassingly bad.

A lot of companies, like the one I work for, have blanket bans on all peer to peer software including Skype. I just wonder what they're going to do when Communicator/Lync is taken out back and shot repeatedly in the head and replaced with Skype.

Probably start using Lotus Notes just for email. (Don't laugh, I actually worked somewhere years ago which used it for just that.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lync

Most IBMers today who use Notes on a daily basis actually believe it is just an email service, so why should everybody else not think the same!

What bothers me is when one of the senior IBM exec's send a mail through Notes with a document attached to the mail to everybody under their jurisdiction, rather than sending a mail with a document link into a Notes document database.

I pity the poor techies who have to be able to keep Notes running for IBM when this daftness happens. And if IBM can't use Notes properly, then why should anybody else. No wonder IBM can't sell it as a product to anybody.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lync

"Probably start using Lotus Notes just for email. (Don't laugh, I actually worked somewhere years ago which used it for just that.)"

I still work in a place that does.

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Linux

Re: Lync

" I actually worked somewhere years ago which used it for just that."

I to worked at a place that was aquired by another place and they brought Notes with them and were kicking the MS Exchange admins out as fast as they could.

A few people understood how to use Notes for more than just email and actually improved their departments efficiency.

After I left, I hear there was a rally cry from the Wintel group and they began re-instating MS Exchange.

I bet you can guess what happened to everyones productivity after that...

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Unhappy

"iPhones, iPads, Android gear and Windows Phone"

For now.

I suspect most of these protocols are buried in products 1000s of users use (but of course don't realize they are using).

But they will.

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Unhappy

Re: "iPhones, iPads, Android gear and Windows Phone"

You got that right - lucky I read this, at least now I'll know why my Skype phone won't be working when I try to call friends and family come Christmas time. It's a shame - it was handy to have one 'normal' phone that could do both POTS and Skype.

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Re: "iPhones, iPads, Android gear and Windows Phone"

I think the trick here is to not update your copy of Skype, if your current installation works it should continue to work until such time Microsoft change the protocol rendering all existing installations incompatible.

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Re: "iPhones, iPads, Android gear and Windows Phone"

"I think the trick here is to not update your copy of Skype..."

Like this:

HKLM\Software\Policies\Skype\Phone, DisableVersionCheck, REG_DWORD = {0,1}

Personally, I like the reduced advertising and lack of home screen in Skype version 4.2 for Windows.

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Proprietary garbage

What did these developers honestly expect when they developed for a proprietary API locked to a proprietary service provided by only a single vendor? And now they are reduced to getting down on hands and knees and begging that vendor not to screw them over.

If you'd made SIP compatible devices then they would all still be working and you'd have literally hundreds of providers to choose from too.

I have always avoided skype, and this is one of the main reasons why.

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Re: Proprietary garbage

They probably do write for SIP etc but Skype had too much market share to ignore.

Microsoft seem to have pulled the rug from under their feet with no way to replace the functionality their customers have now.

If M$ had said in 2 years the API will be deprecated ,

it will be replaced by URIs,

please work with us to make URIs a suitable replacement,

APIs will be retired in 4 years.

Then there would be no problem.

Its M$ targeting their feet again.

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Joke

It get's a little boring

But still holds much truth:

  • Discontinue (heavily) used service without proper replacement.
  • ???
  • Profit!

I slowly come to conclude that some higher up at Microsoft is a huge South Park fan ;) First the bonus for their resellers (partners), then TechNet, now this? Or colours and such in Visual Studio?

One can only dread at the idea where this is going.

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Re: It get's a little boring

I actually think some of the high up execs have been replaced by linux-running androids that are not set on imploding the company with incompetence, surely nothing else can explain the recent events?

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Obligatory XKCD reference

http://xkcd.com/1172/

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Re: Obligatory XKCD reference

Love XKCD

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Holmes

Call centres

Breaking the API may hit many a call centre......maybe we shall see a reduction in unwanted calls now

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Already I can't do video chat with the latest Skype versions

I have to tell anyone I want to video conference with to go here and install this version:

https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA12252/why-can-t-i-make-video-calls-on-the-latest-version-of-skype-for-windows-desktop

(Note the on page information is incorrect, it says "we’ve created a special version of Skype for Windows desktop that will allow you to continue making video calls on older PCs." the truth is it allows video calls TO older versions of Skype.

Seems sticking to older versions, may be a solution to this issue too.

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Instead of the Skype devs removing well established API's they need to work on making skype more reliable for making video calls. I skype regularly to family living in Australia both of us are on a reasonable speed cable broadband but yet skype constantly drops calls or the video quality looks like a Picasso painting flick book.

Apart from the fact it has a large user base i fail to see how Microsoft expects to make money from Skype, if they start to charge for it people will migrate to one of the other free services and if ads become too intrusive they will force people onto other services.

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