back to article Microsoft to rip up P2P Skype, killing native Mac, Linux apps

In the same month Microsoft announced its alpha WebRTC-based Skype for Linux client, Redmond has put that native app and the native OS X Skype client on an end-of-life list. This is because Skype is being rebuilt to replace its peer-to-peer architecture with cloud-centric code that supports Windows, iOS, Android and web …

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AES/TLS

I wondered for a moment if anyone else had spotted that piece of nonsense.

Of course there's also the point that AES128 is stronger than AES256...

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@dajames - it is a comparison between cheese and cheese in a wrapper.

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FAIL

Another Nokia?

Could this be another instance of Microsoft's successful product acquisition strategy?

1. Recognise that you do not have much experience of success in communications products

2. Buy successful communications company and products for lots of money

3. Decide to change the acquired products to fit in with the Microsoft way of doing things

4. Watch changed products and formerly successful company die

5. Re-write history to show that it never happened

6 Return to 1.

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Re: Another Nokia?

It takes a really special kind of management to release an alpha of a new Linux desktop client and a month later put Mac and Linux desktop clients on notice.

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Re: Another Nokia?

2. Buy successful communications company and products for lots of money

Successful? Nokia were up for sale only because they'd managed to mess up, and Apple and Samsung had dibs on the smartphone business. Nokia's board decided they couldn't fix it, and brought in Elop, who told them that they were right, but he knew a patsy who might give them money for the carcass.

And the rest is history. Disclosure: I HATE Microsoft as much as the next man, but the complete implosion of Nokia came with a sticker on the box that says "100% Made in Finland".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another Nokia?

" I HATE Microsoft as much as the next man, but the complete implosion of Nokia came with a sticker on the box that says "100% Made in Finland"."

Ah, that will explain why my pay cheque (and that of 10s of thousands of others) is signed by some entity named "Nokia" which has a head office in Finland.

FFS, how hard is it for people to understand that Microsoft only bought the cellphone making part of Nokia's business - the rest of Nokia is going fine and is very successful in a number of fields.

A quick duckduckgo (or google, if you must) might help keep feet out of mouths.

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Re: Another Nokia?

It takes a really special kind of management to release an alpha of a new Linux desktop client and a month later put Mac and Linux desktop clients on notice.

Most likely part of Microsoft's management had no clue that Skype native clients for Linux and Mac even exist, until they saw the alpha release announcement. And after they realised...

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Re: Another Nokia?

I think it turns out the article's inaccurate, the only things I can find are the minimum requirements for OS X are being changed from 10.6 to 10.9 and no mention of dropping Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another Nokia?

Could this be another instance of Microsoft's successful product acquisition strategy?

1. Recognise that you do not have much experience of success in communications products

2. Buy successful communications company and products for lots of money

3. Decide to change the acquired products to fit in with the Microsoft way of doing things

4. Watch changed products and formerly successful company die

5. Re-write history to show that it never happened

6 Return to 1.

Ah, so you mean yet another methodology they stole from IBM.... Sorry MS, but IBM are *way* better at FUBARring companies they slurp up. And IBM is far better at f***ing up in general.

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Re: Another Nokia?

Elop

I can never decide if that's a capital e on there, of a capital F with an underscore to boot!

OkIshouldsleepnow24hoursplayingmotorbikemechanicthenfindingnewvideosoftwareandhalfhourlycoffeesnotgoodforbrain...

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P2P got killed almost immediately...

... on windows with one of the first skype releases after being bought by Microsoft. Even with pcs on the same network segment, it was routing everything via servers. I saw file transfers to the desk next to me drop from 100Mps to 10Kbps. Nice job Microsoft.

For a really private alternative, get a copy of signal from open whisper systems.

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Re: P2P got killed almost immediately...

Again, fake privacy. First thing this application asks is your phone number, which means you now have 0 privacy!

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"new or enhanced features"

better file sharing, video messaging, mobile group calling, translation and bots

I can't wait to hear about the security issues and failures that will come to light from all these new malware support areas Microsoft is creating.

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Black Helicopters

Of dubious jurisdiction

It would seem that centralising Skype in this manner will allow Microsoft to offer Skype in various jurisdictions like Russia, India, Argentina et. al. with the ability to conform to local laws.

Argentina (or is it Brazil?) has an ongoing fight with Whatsapp over encrypted messages.

Russia has newish laws regarding content locality and, possibly, legal interception.

India has a pretty serious hatred of any encryption that it cannot break.

So the changes place Skype in a perfect position to play in all markets, including these.

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Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

You left out the UK & 'power to ban encryption' rhetoric being bandied about by the 'upper (and upper-middle) class twit of the year contestants' lurching around Westminster...

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Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

> You left out the UK & 'power to ban encryption' rhetoric being bandied about by the 'upper (and upper-middle) class twit of the year contestants' lurching around Westminster...

Why stop there, since the lower, lower-middle, and middle class twits in Westminster are - if anything - even worse.

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Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

Can we not just lump them all together and classify them as "Technologically inept twits that people keep electing" ?

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Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

"Argentina (or is it Brazil?) has an ongoing fight with Whatsapp over encrypted messages."

I don't know about Argentina, but Brazil judges sure keep trying to block Whatsapp every once in a while.

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Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

"Why stop there, since the lower, lower-middle, and middle class twits in Westminster are - if anything - even worse."

- Wut? There are people in positions of power in Westminster on minimum wage or merely average salaries??? I find that hard to believe.

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Big Brother

Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

"will allow Microsoft to offer Skype in various jurisdictions"

And although our beloved NSA would never arm-twist Microsoft into back-dooring their products, now that these other countries have mandated it, our spies will just say, "May as well take a peek now that the door was left ajar."

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Devil

Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

"Technologically inept twits"

Could we please have an acronym for that?

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Anonymous Coward

Could someone please explain how a direct connection is going to be better when routed and processed through a server?

I would assume it would create more lag and not reduce it.

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"better when routed and processed through a server"

Better for whom? Prying eyes will have an easier time obtaining a buffer copy from a server. And then strong-arm one or both end node users for the encryption key.

Even better(?), if the protocol has been designed to negotiate session keys between the server and each user, you have a single point where authorities can go to get those keys. Never mind that having a restricted set of mid-points to watch makes traffic analysis a cinch.

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Never mind the Servers

I would just be happy if they brought back the lightweight client for home Users, rather than the slow, bogged-down skype "experience" that I dont want.

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Re: Never mind the Servers

Then you already know what you'll be getting. :-(

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Over the years Skype has been a beautiful example of how to take a great idea/app and turn it into a POS.

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Anonymous Coward

Some things at Microsoft never change

It went full retard by combining MSN Messenger with Skype.

The evolution of the Skype UI has also deteriorated. You can look for the version of the Skype installer before Microsoft's acquisition, install it and compare for yourself. Skype version 5.3.0.111, released first half of 2011.

On hindsight, it's always the easier option to relinquish control, creativity and ownership when Microsoft comes knocking at your door with a thick stack of money. LinkedIn was the latest casualty.

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Skype spam

The only reason I have Skype is that I seem to work in a lot of offices with WiFi but no mobile signal. I can rent a landline number that I can give to people who might want to call me. If anyone can suggest a good alternative, I'd be interested.

But I'm heartily sick of Skype spam. I get numerous contact requests and even (unanswered) calls from exotically-named women that I've never heard of. What's the business model here? I can understand email spam - it's as easy to send a million messages as one, so the infinitesimal response rate is still profitable. But phone call spam sounds much more time-consuming, and where's the payoff?

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Re: Skype spam

I'm guessing if you ring back then you get hit with premium rate charges somewhere.

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5 Steps to mobile freedom.

1. Get a data only plan for your phone (tell them it's for your tablet).

2. Set your smart phone to use VOIP only, or get a good softphone (bria is pretty good).

3. Buy a VOIP plan.

4. Set up your softphone.

5. Enjoy inexpensive mobile telephone service.

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Re: 5 Steps to mobile freedom.

Some mobile phone operators have transparent "WiFi calling" that you can just turn on.

I found it hideously bad in places with poor signal strength as it'd try to use the even worse WiFi, and thus not work at all, however you might have better luck.

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Finally.

The P2P was the worst part of skype. It was the bane of network admins. If you tried to block people running p2p file sharing, you would accidentally kill skype even if you wanted to allow it, and there was no fixed port you could exempt. Such a shitty design. Glad to see that gone.

As for security, well if you ever thought your skype conversations were secure, you were almost certainly delusional.

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Android it is Linux underneath so they are not killing client but they are only not going to provide binaries on Linux x86/x86_64 on Linux.

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Maybe I'm just having a tinfoil hat moment, but announcing that there won't be a Linux or Mac client anymore in the near future will dissuade people toying with the thought of finally ditching Windows because they are enraged about MS's force feeding of W10 to them.

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Tried out Facebook video calls the other day... it's so much better than Skype it's shocking. Doubt too many people will shed tears over Skype's future direction.

The alternatives seem to have it beat. Never tried Google Hangouts but I wouldn't be surprised it that was better quality than Skype.

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Won't somebody think of my aged mother

She's just a little naive web-wise and overly trusting. I really do not want her to be led off into the weeds by a web based Skype interface. It only takes one little cross-site scripting attack inside an unscrupulous ad.

Her MacBook and it's self-contained Skype client is everything she ever needs to talk to her children and grandchildren.

BTW - those who do not think their conversations are being monitored should check out CALEA. Every communications network is required by Federal Law to be able to intercept and expose a conversation.

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Re: Won't somebody think of my aged mother

1 Up for the CALEA mention. It should be noted, though, that CALEA was enacted to ensure that law enforcement could execute wiretap warrants. Microsoft, and most or all other carriers almost certainly would require a valid warrant, reviewed by their legal department, before implementing a tap.

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"Microsoft reckons it needs to rebuild Skype to improve call quality: once traffic has reached the Microsoft cloud, Redmond shuffles the bits between ingress and egress. To that extent, it can control call quality – but the user experience will still depend far more on their broadband connection, their ISP, and so on."

And how much bandwidth Microsoft has to throw at the millions of streams. Looks like I'm going to have to start looking for an alternative to Skype.

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Big Brother

"Enhanced features"...Hmmm, I wonder what that could be?

The only two that I can think of would be (in no particular order):

--> Bigger, louder, more intrusive and more frequent advertising

--> Backdoors for various TLAs

(As a subset of the second one, naturally there would be more telemetry, which may or may not be considered its own "enhanced feature".)

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Microsoft must be seized and shutdown!

Microsoft and Google are criminal companies backed by political mafia with an hidden agenda.

They must be shutdown. They are a cancer to the whole industry.

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Anonymous Coward

Shooting itself in the foot, typical Microsoft

Overly relying on the cloud is a bad idea.

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Megaphone

"The Cloud" is *SO* overrated!

Nothing like "single point of failure" (consisting of multiple nodes) to screw up reliability. Free P2P was one of the coolest features that Skype had... [I used to pay for skype access for certain kinds of long distance calls, but not any more - it has been YEARS, in fact, since I did that]

"The Cloud" - _SO_ overrated. even 'google docs' hasn't been immune to widespread outages.

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Can I just ask...

...where are all these ads I'm supposed to be seeing for allowing all those corps to 'slurp my data'?

I'm just not seeing them in my day to day web use.

It's bollocks.

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Unhappy

WebOS Client

Does this also mean bye bye to the surprisingly still working WebOS chat client Skype plugin?

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Anonymous Coward

Is it an IT firm of a predatory hedge fund ?

It would be nice if they stopped buying companies and breaking them.

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Meh

Empty promises?

I can't say I've ever been impressed with the speed, stability, or interface of the native Windows app, especially when using it for screen sharing. (I have not tried the Linux app yet) Maybe a rewrite to offload some of the work to the cloud will help. But I'm not holding my breath.

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Slx
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Skype may well fade into obscurity...

I could see Skype becoming irrelevant very quickly. It's not like it doesn't have very easily available, and often far superior alternatives.

It won't be the first or the last platform to just fade away.

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Like everything else

Skype died the day they bought it.

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Microsoft wreckers

In over 30 years, Microsoft has failed to actually make anything it has bought, better.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft and Yahoo! should just buy each other and be done with it.

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