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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All you conversations

    are belong to Route through our servers for the benefit of our friends.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: All you conversations

      Seriously, the tin foil hat brigade will go nuts over this. And maybe, they're right.

      All the info that gets sucked off Win10 plus the other moves MS is making make me think all of this is going straight to the new NSA datacluster in Utah.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: All you conversations

      I don't use Skype myself, as I don't see the point. Is there an open source platform independent encrypted P2P equivalent? If not, maybe there should be.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken

        Re: All you conversations

        Viber might be a contender.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All you conversations

          If you trust the Chinese government...WeChat is decent too. It has video call. It has a web UI which can be accessed by a browser. It has a Windows PC client.

          1. Zakhar

            Re: All you conversations

            No, both Viber and WeChat REQUIRE your phone number.

            So for privacy, the best thing is simply to use plain WebRTC through sites like appear.in (or plenty others). For that you just need a browser like Firefox or Chromium (not sure about M$ browsers because they alawys want their OWN "norm" like WenRTC does not please them, they did ORTC).

            With WebRTC, if there is a direct route between the 2 callers, your browser will use that route, so that the initial server is used only for starting the conversation. If there is no direct route, WebRTC will use a relay, but as it is end-to-end encrypted, the relay has no way of knowing what is inside the packets it relays.

            As for M$, it is absolutely sure they decrypt the conversation, otherwise how would you want them to do the feature: "adapt the bandwidth to each correspondent"... with WebRTC, there is no way you could do that, although they are bringing a feature comparable to "progressive JPEG" with video, so that the correspondents can adapt with their own bandwidth, at the price of lesser image quality.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: All you conversations

              "No, both Viber and WeChat REQUIRE your phone number."

              They require _a_ working phone number. Not necessarily the number of the equipment it's running on.

            2. macjules Silver badge

              Re: All you conversations

              Actually for all those conversations you must have without Redmond listening in, try getting hold of Signal for Android/IOS.

              Also, what is the future of iOS Skype - is that getting an overhaul as well?

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All you conversations

          Tried Viber, got bombared by spam on a daily basis, uninstalled Viber

        4. MrTuK

          Viber !

          I just was about to install viber on my Android phone when I looked at what it needs to have access to !!!! Wow more likely what it doesn't need access to would be be a shorter list !

          I will list the 3 main suspect ones it wants access to !

          Device & app history ?

          Wifi connection information ?

          Bluetooth connection information ?

          When I initially saw the list I looked at it carefully as I was worried if it wanted to know my penis size etc !

      2. pyite

        Re: All you conversations

        Skype has some good features, and I have some contacts over the years who still only use Skype so I try to keep it around.

        Before the Microsoft acquisition, Skype was the best free multi-platform desktop sharing app. Once Microsoft bought it, they broke desktop sharing on Linux (not a surprise). There is plausible deniability that it was intentional, but I wouldn't be surprised either way.

        With the new version, maybe the Linux version will reach feature parity with the others -- but it has a long way to go and I am quite skeptical.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: All you conversations

          After the Microsoft acquisition, Skype went downhill fast and even my Windows using friends told me to stay way from it.

      3. DropBear Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: All you conversations

        Unfortunately, any "replacement" needs to be free and easily installable. It's not that I might not be willing to pay a modest fee for proper peace of mind, but one needs to be able to convince everybody else currently using Skype to convert to the replacement too, and that definitely won't fly if I need to tell them "well, if you want to keep talking to me just delete Skype and get a monthly SIP subscription then please follow this easy not-at-all technical 101-step tutorial on how to set up your phone to use it, I have another slightly longer one for your laptop..."

      4. simonb_london

        Re: All you conversations

        Yes. There is an open source contender. HTML5. Skype is really just a brand now.

      5. Daniel Voyce

        Re: All you conversations

        Not open source but appear.in is pretty brilliant! No sign ups - Web RTC. Pretty much all I use now for conference calls!

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    My first thought was this is so they can slurp your data to whore you to advertisers (and paying gov departments) just like Google do. And Win10 does.

    Having thought about it a bit more, that is also my 2nd thought.

    Edited to add: What are the real alternatives to Skype these days? Something that is cross-platform and not dependent on a big data-slurping company? Might be useful to know.

    1. m0rt

      "What are the real alternatives to Skype these days? Something that is cross-platform and not dependent on a big data-slurping company?"

      Still skype, or hangouts, but use semaphore over a video chat.

      1. Adair Silver badge

        Have a look at Jitsi

        (see title)

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Wire (wire.com) has Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and web clients. It doesn't have Windows Phone but Windows Phone is deader than Skype. Microsoft can fragment Skype until it only works with Windows Desktop and Windows Phone and then they'll be utterly surprised to find that nobody is using it.

      There's also appear.in which is web only, but it has the advantage of not having a crappy broken UI, unlike Skype.

      1. Zakhar

        I concur for appear.in

        Tried wire, but it keeps telling me "Problem with the connection". :/

    3. edge_e
      Linux

      Re: What are the real alternatives to Skype

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_VoIP_software

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What are the real alternatives to Skype

        Some potential alternatives could be ring.cx, Tox and retroshare. First two work decentralised with DHTs, and the last one is a bit older from an architectural point of view and voip + video is still an add on. Yet another alternative could be your favourite XMPP server + jingle.

        None of the options above are as convenient or wide spread as Skype, but maybe one of them can get a foot hold and become a new standard? Would be nice, but I doubt it.

        1. Joseph Haig

          Re: What are the real alternatives to Skype

          None of the options above are as convenient or wide spread as Skype ...

          Not at the moment but now that Microsoft have signalled the end to Skype on Mac, which is now a significant market, I do not think it will take long for someone to take its place. Gone are the days when then can get away with this sort of thing because "everyone uses Windows".

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: What are the real alternatives to Skype

        Yes, but I just want reliable PRIVATE cross platform real time text chat, with occasional file drag & drop, image copy and paste, less often voice calls and least occasionally video.

        All in one NON-Web client.

      3. pyite

        Re: What are the real alternatives to Skype

        What about desktop sharing? For a decade I used to recommend WebEx and Skype, but recently both of them have become useless on Linux.

        HP MyRoom seems to work very well on Linux, but I'm not sure of the licensing model.

      4. JLV Silver badge

        Re: What are the real alternatives to Skype

        Strangely enough, this comes to mind when seeing that list:

        https://xkcd.com/927/

    4. Grifter

      There's one called Brosix, but I haven't tried it myself, anyone have experience with it?

      http://brosix.com

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Alternatives to Skype

      Is anyone using Linphone? It seems to run on just about every sensible platform, both desktop and mobile. It does messaging, audio and video calling and is apparently fully encrypted. The mobile clients are nice, but the desktop ones are a little clunky, unfortunately. It could possibly use some developer and donation help, but it does seem to be the most multi-platform system out there, although it seems to be little known.

      https://www.linphone.org/

      Or Signal (only iOS and Android, though)? One of its developers is Moxie Marlinspike, who is someone who seems to know his stuff about security, which is a scarily complicated field (although these days you almost wonder who is actually for real and who is potentially a false flag agent, and how would you know…?).

      https://whispersystems.org/

      1. Paul Kinsler

        Re: Is anyone using Linphone?

        I've had that on my system for years, but never made anything but a few test calls. Currently I'm trying ekiga instead, which seems to have fewer dependencies, which makes getting to the point of making a test call easier. :-)

        I'm no fan of skype, but since that's all anyone else wants to use, I seem to be stuck with it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is anyone using Linphone?

          Ekiga seemed fairly polished the last time I looked at it on Linux, but the snag is that it's Linux and Windows only, so it can't be recommended for everyone, unfortunately.

          The difficulty is that, for universal interoperability (or as close as possible), everyone needs to be using the same communication and encryption protocols, which often seems to mean using the same app, as they sadly all seem to be inventing multiple incompatible wheels! If SIP + ZRTP are appropriate and also secure open standards then maybe there could be hope that whatever app a given person is using would be unimportant.

      2. Zakhar

        Re: Alternatives to Skype

        Linphone is in the Ubuntu repo which makes it easy to install. Unfortunately, I have never been able to use video with it, although audio works well with the SIP account given by my ISP (and I could capture incoming calls to my home phone when I'm out).

        Signal from whispersystems... how can you seriously claim promote privacy when the first thing you ask is your phone number! So if you ask me, this so-called "security expert" is a phony.

        1. Captain Queeg

          Re: Alternatives to Skype

          "how can you seriously claim promote privacy when the first thing you ask is your phone number! So if you ask me, this so-called "security expert" is a phone."

          But privacy doesn't automatically need to mean anonymity does it?

          Keen as I am on protecting peoples privacy, anonymity seems a little more problematic.

    6. Jeffrey Nonken
    7. Lotaresco

      What are the real alternatives to Skype these days?

      Viber seems to be popular. The call quality is better than Skype.

      Windows, Mac, Linux

      Windows 10, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8

      It's produced by the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc.

  3. arctic_haze Silver badge

    It is a move in the right direction

    I refused to use Skype since it was bought by Microsoft. However, I might consider using its cloud version if no Microsoft code needs to be installed. I am fully aware "all your talks are belong to Redmont (and some government agencies)" but at least I would know when they spy on me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is a move in the right direction

      I refused to use Skype since it was bought by Microsoft. However, I might consider using its cloud version if no Microsoft code needs to be installed.

      I wouldn't if I were you. I entertain myself with demonstrating to lawyers and people in finance that Skype is intercepted - it's quite fun to see their faces go white when they see live evidence :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I refused to use Skype since...

        ever, because I never trusted the people who made it.

        They paid for building Skype with money they made off the Kazaa P2P network (so dirty money from hacking, malware and piracy). I did perhaps have a grudge because I had to retro-engineer their on the wire protocols and deal with their wacky roll-your-own encryption system, that changed _constantly_.

        It was therefore not surprising to me that they bit the hand that fed them by suing the people who made them billionaires. They tried to claim they transferred the Key IP rights on their P2P networks software to one of their endless shell companies, Joltid, and sued for copyright infringement.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/technology/companies/17skype.html

        If enough people are worried about it, there are plenty of other options. The only value Skype has had for a long time is it's ubiquity. And ubiquity only gets you so far. ICQ, AIM, Yahoo... all had their days in the sun, and all fell behind. Skype is never going to become a single defacto solution like the POTS phone system was. Too many other Islands and walled gardens, like Facebook Messenger or Facetime/iMessage. Add that to cell phones, texts, email, Slack, maybe a ticket system or two, and our immediate future looks like something from Snowcrash. Fragmentation and information overload.

      2. Adrian Midgley 1

        Interception: interesting

        I believe anything you tell me of course, but in order to convince other people, would you share a demo' of it, or the recipe, or somesuch, please?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Interception: interesting

          I believe anything you tell me of course, but in order to convince other people, would you share a demo' of it, or the recipe, or somesuch, please?

          I'm busy getting Skype Luxembourg to give me a formal explanation why they do it. So far, they've tried playing games with me, so now it will progress to the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection because if they're hoping I will let this lie they're seriously mistaken.

          Oh, and I tend to demonstrate this live in front of audiences mainly composed of lawyers. Lawyers not only like facts and evidence, they also talk to their customers who tend to listen as they pay for their time..

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: It is a move in the right direction

      but at least I would know when they spy on me.

      That would be 'all the time'. The question is whether or not the spying is effective enough (or ineffective enough, depending upon your point of view) for the purpose at hand.

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Redmond decides you'll sound better snooping will be easier for the NSA if Skype runs in the cloud in America.

    FTFY

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I don't know what the last few paragraphs are about

    Skype isn't P2P any more, everything's been going through MS' supernodes for a few years, and messages can blocked (e.g. you type a link to a phishing website that's on their list) so they know the contents of messages too. They're not going to change that with the move to web clients.

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    Why the cloud?

    All the better to listen to you my dear

  7. Indolent Wretch

    The "get Microsoft back on it's feet" plan!

    1. Buy Pooch

    2. Screw Pooch

    3. ....

    4. Repeat!

    So far Skype, Nokia, Danger, ...., oh hell I haven't time to list them all.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Possibly because they don't give a f### about any of the technology they "buy" - they are buying user bases to hopefully monetise, not the tech they eventually just discard.

    2. tempemeaty
      Mushroom

      Can I add the company name "TrueSpace3D" to your pile of now dead Microsoft acquisitions?

      I loved that companys' 3D software. It was fantastic. I even did my first character rigging in it. Then Microsoft bought the company and disposed of it like a used tissue after a very short usage.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Damn, I forgot all about TrueSpace.

  8. Chairo

    Time to leave this wasteland

    and go looking for greener pastures...

  9. dajames Silver badge

    Today, peer-to-peer IMs use AES 256 encryption while IMs passed through cloud use TLS.

    AES 256 is an encryption algorithm while TLS is an encryption protocol (which includes a mechanism for selecting an algorithm, which is fairly unlikely, today, to be anything other than AES 256 but could be something weaker or stronger).

    You're comparing chalk with ... not cheese, but with some method for selecting a piece of chalk.

    1. Lotaresco

      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...

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

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

  10. EastFinchleyite
    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.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      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.

      1. Chairo

        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...

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge

        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...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  11. Tom 64
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. Zakhar

      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!

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "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.

  13. Oh Bother
    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.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      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...

      1. nijam

        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.

        1. James 139

          Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

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

          1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Of dubious jurisdiction

            "Technologically inept twits"

            Could we please have an acronym for that?

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          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.

    2. J 3
      Alert

      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.

    3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
      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."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      "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.

  15. SniperPenguin

    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.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Never mind the Servers

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

  16. Craig 2

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  17. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    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?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Skype spam

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

    2. BitDr

      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.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        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.

  18. Lennart Sorensen

    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.

  19. iOS6 user

    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.

  20. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    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.

  21. Innocent-Bystander*

    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.

  22. Borg.King

    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.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      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.

  23. cmaurand

    "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.

  24. Someone Else Silver badge
    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".)

  25. Joerg

    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.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shooting itself in the foot, typical Microsoft

    Overly relying on the cloud is a bad idea.

  27. bombastic bob Silver badge
    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.

  28. jason 7 Silver badge

    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.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    WebOS Client

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

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it an IT firm of a predatory hedge fund ?

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

  31. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    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.

  32. Slx

    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.

  33. Mikel

    Like everything else

    Skype died the day they bought it.

  34. W Donelson

    Microsoft wreckers

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

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Toss IBM into that mix and we'll be all set. The only problem will be if they managed to cancel out each other's incompetence.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Source Identity Brokers

    Looks to me like what we need is an identity broker which distributes the database somewhat like a torrent so we can store our public keys in there and maybe get away from the need to associate a real phone number with it. Is there anything in the offing already?

  37. Dave 15

    I dont get it

    So... if I understand correctly we are going to end up having to browse to skype

    So now the browser needs to load a page and then I guess download from the national security agency your entire contacts list as some xml.

    xml clearly being brilliant as a compact way of transporting data will not take more than a couple of days for each contact.

    Then of course the whole UI will then be some server cack rendered by a browser... probably forcing you to use internet exploder-

    I can't see why this would improve voice quality or bring any other benefit over the existing apart from the fact I could then do skype from someone elses machine without downloading it... tbh this is not a feature I have a need for anyway.

  38. Howard Hanek
    Linux

    Feature Rich

    ....and for no extra charge they'll delete or add words to your conversations so you won't offend or upset any one of the dozens of 'special' groups.

  39. Kiwi Silver badge
    Mushroom

    How about these backwards people go, well, backwards...

    Hence Microsoft is able to pitch new or enhanced features as the showcase of the world that awaits users,

    Used to be Skype had some really great features.

    Then it was brought by Mickey$loth.

    Now it's crap.

    If I want video calling in my browser, I'll use Firefox's "Hello" thingy.

  40. jimmy-o

    Skype already dumped P2P years ago?

    I thought Skype had already dumped P2P years ago, because it doesn't work for mobile:

    http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/05/skype-replaces-p2p-supernodes-with-linux-boxes-hosted-by-microsoft/

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020