back to article Update or shut up: Microsoft's choice for desktop Skypers

Microsoft's hurrying desktop Skype users to new client software. As revealed in a post late last week, Redmond's new plan will mean that come March 1st, users of “Skype for Windows desktop (7.16 and below) or Skype for Mac (7.0 to 7.18) will no longer be able to sign in.” To avoid that conversational crimp, you need merely …

  1. Oengus Silver badge

    Another Cloud con

    Skype's now heading to a cloudy architecture, the better to allow baked-in services like file sharing from within the Skype client and mobile video chats.

    Skype's now heading to a cloudy architecture, the better to allow M$ to track your chats and target you.

    FTFY

    1. Ian 7

      Re: Another Cloud con

      How does the cloud make tracking your chats any easier for Microsoft to do than having a fat client app running on your PC?

      1. Oliver Mayes

        Re: Another Cloud con

        Skype used to be P2P, your client connected directly to the person you were talking to.

        Now it goes through the MS servers, allowing them to easily record everything that happens and hand it over to whatever government agency wants your data today.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re Oengus: Another Cloud con

      Skype's now heading to a cloudy architecture, the better to allow M$ to track your chats and target you.

      Skype's now heading to a cloudy architecture, the better to allow governments to intercept your chats and target you.

      FTFY

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Another Cloud con

      I thought it had ages ago at the LAST blocking of Skype Log on?

    4. joed

      Re: Another Cloud con

      There's no way I'd used Skype app on Windows system as this would require that I've unblocked network access for all crApps (thanks MS for making this so difficult). The only acceptable solution for me is an iPhone app as MS does not control the platform (and Skype is not getting access to contacts). Obviously legacy account, no way I'd signed up for MS account (especially now that it required providing phone number). I bet MS will let this continue as they won't completely give up on users from major platform. And for now the desktop application for Windows 7 runs just fine on Windows 10 (not that I used it much or set it to launch automatically), just use proper browser so download page is not making fuss.

    5. Gis Bun

      Re: Another Cloud con

      You don't think they did it before.

      Don't like it, stop using it.

  2. Spoonguard
    Mushroom

    OLD MAN SHOUTS AT CLOUD

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Literally.

  3. sean.fr

    Skype as a free alternative to H323

    Skype was a threat to corporate videoconf - H323. It was free, and it just worked, anyone to anyone, any device to any device. Once you had HD Skype in the TV, there was little motive to spend a 2K dollars on a classic VC codec. But Microsoft has killed off the TV Skype, and there are barriers to stop you calling Skype for Business from home (free p2p) Skype.

    If you are on a platform where Miscrosoft gets a dollope of money, Windows there is a future. For Android/Linux/Mac, there is no money, and so it is likely to become harder to talk to corporate.

    But I think Microsoft are probably too late. If you are running Skype for Business in your Corporate VC suite, you have a big screen + PC +microphones in the suite. The same hardware can run one of many other, open / free systems. Some of them will work just fine on anything Microsoft does not want to support for free.

    1. GingerOne

      Re: Skype as a free alternative to H323

      "But I think Microsoft are probably too late. If you are running Skype for Business in your Corporate VC suite, you have a big screen + PC +microphones in the suite. The same hardware can run one of many other, open / free systems. Some of them will work just fine on anything Microsoft does not want to support for free."

      Corporate environments rarely run free software! We like to buy things so that we have someone to hit over the head when it goes wrong. Given this, and the amount of businesses with Microsoft agreements where Skype is included (aspecially those big enough to run their own VC kit) I really don't get your argument.

      1. naive

        Re: Skype as a free alternative to H323

        Skype is for sure not for free. Millennial's managed to convince management to start using Skype for business, since the good old PABX was end of life, and Skype for business is for free, since they have one of these MS licenses intended to drive out all competition.

        It is then when one starts to appreciate the ingenuity of Sir Graham Bell.. one wire, one device.

        Over one century later Microsoft manages to replace it with: A blue tooth headset, a holder for the blue tooth headset, an USB cable for loading the blue tooth headset, a fully working PC with all the 19" racks full with required gear on the background to get the thing to work at all.

        Why does Skype costs money: We lose calls after 5 mins, transferring calls is a nightmare due to the bad user interface of this product, windows get thrown all over the screen when using it, the blue tooth is buggy and looses connection frequently. Skype for business would be a good alternative though for organizations who dislike their customers, like the government.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skype as a free alternative to H323

        "We like to buy things so that we have someone to hit over the head when it goes wrong"

        Have you tried getting actual support out of Microsoft when something really has gone wrong? Its quicker to fix the issue yourself.

        Paid Support is all about giving them an income stream with which they can fix the worst of the countless bugs which are the result of rushing the initial product to market, so by taking out support subscriptions you are in fact supporting and encouraging shoddy software development.

      3. sean.fr

        Re: Skype as a free alternative to H323

        H323 is an open technology, is point to point and can be encrypted. But was designed for an Internet Addresss per codec, and that period is over.

        Skype did have the potential to just work on everything. The boss is on holiday when the wharehouse burt down but can have a look via his big phone which will in general already have Skype. He can talk to the insurer, who also will have Skype on his tablet. He can talk to managers on the smartTV in the VC suite. Even the firefighter can stream live to the incident room using a 4G phone. You could use an APPLE , or Polycom client, but there are just so many different incompatable systems.

        Paying is not the issue directly. Corporate would prefer to pay. Just the things you do to push a pay servicer, also tend to stop it being universal. Aunty Nelly will use a free service. Therefore boss will want the free service too so Nelly can see the kids on holiday. So Nelly or Boss needs to be able to call in to Corporate using the free app.

        If Microsoft billed for End to End Encryption, Multipointing, and recording and other premium services, that could work. Just no US company can offer End to End encryption due to USA interception regulations.

        Room for an open protocol, point to point system with extendable encryption. Even P2P requires some servers for call setup. So possibly with peering fees for Business users wanting servers away from prying eyes.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Skype as a free alternative to H323

      I thought "Skype for business" was a completely different system, just a rebranded MS Lync?

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

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Skype as a free alternative to H323

        "I'll call you on Skype."

        "Is that Lync or Skype?"

        "Lync."

        This conversation happened more than once while using IM on Lync. Pure genius at MS' marketing.

      2. Gis Bun

        Re: Skype as a free alternative to H323

        Which was Office Communicator before that. Skype for Business updates still shows "Lync" in the file name and "Lync" for the executable.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

    ~ For both XP + Win7 on older netbooks.... Suggestions most appreciated...

    ~ Newer versions of Skype (after 6.18) do not run or put a huge CPU load on older netbooks so the UX is cr@ppy especially on XP.

    ~ This is a problem as many older folk in my circle of family / friends still use XP / Win-7, and have no wish to be force-upgraded to Windows-10....

    ~ I'll have to guide each through the install via Skype, so this part needs to be a relatively simple process... Cheers if you can help. Overall, Microsoft are asses!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      There's a good run-down of Skype alternatives here. Most of them are basically free, but I don't think any of them are FOSS.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

      Wire (www.wire.com) does Win, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and Web clients. The Linux build has source code.

      There is also Jitsi.

      1. Wade Burchette

        Re: Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

        Google Hangouts is not FOSS and you have to deal with the issues with Google. But, unlike the new Skype, it just works and works well.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

          "Google Hangouts "

          The risk with Google is that you never what service might sunsetted next.

        2. Gis Bun

          Re: Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

          Except who uses Google Hangouts? I have 70+ contacts between home & work. Nobody suggested it.

          Seems Google continues to be the "poor man" 's version of everything. Inferior version of Skype. Inferior version of Facebook.

      2. homerjsimpson

        Re: Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

        Just tried Wire - sound quality is impressive!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

      My 92 y/o father in law uses Skype to keep in touch with his friends/relatives as far away as Canada, Hungary and Sweeden. I can only hope and pray the new version has an identical UI to the older version. Moving him from XP to 7 and a new version of skype 3 or 4 years ago was painful. He's now 3 or 4 years more confused......

      He still doesn't understand why Skype sometimes shows him a picture of a pretty girl with the phrase "see who you know on Skype" or whatever advert it pedals at him - he keeps thinking she is trying to call him.

    4. Adair

      Re: Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

      Have a look at Ring. https://ring.cx/

    5. Gis Bun

      Re: Any practical FOSS Skype-alternatives?

      Errrr. Microsoft forcing you to upgrade to Win 10 [from Win XP/7] because of Skype? Sure if you have an outdated Win XP. Nobody supports Win XP.

      Latest Skype still works on Win 7.

      You can use the web based Skype on any OS.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only it was that simple.

    If you have an 'olde Skype id', you now can't change your password, unless a compulsory update to a live ID is made.

    If you're using your 'olde skype id' for work, and your work domain is in O365, when you try and use that email address for the live ID it doesn't let you.

    Ah, you say, fine I'll move to Skype for Business.

    However, if you're a Mac house, you still can't then talk to anyone else still on a skype id.

    So basically MS have to get rid of Skype ids and they are doing it as quick, and forcefully as they can, and you'll just have to deal with it...

  6. taxman

    DLP disaster awaiting?

    "....... the better to allow baked-in services like file sharing from within the Skype client....."

    Oh dear. What could possibly go wrong here?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skype:

    legalised ransom ware.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Skype:

      Outlook.com is the legalised ransomware.

      Register a new ID using only username and password.

      If you the attempt login using said username and password (even with a non simple password) on different IP/different device, you're locked out and forced to give a phone number to "Verifiy your identity".

      It's ransomware in the sense, you either drip feed us more of your private information or you can't use this service, but in the meantime we've locked you out of your data. I don't believe it is in the name of security, my password is a non-simple 20+ characters, and its not wrong.

      1. Patrician

        Re: Skype:

        ..."If you the attempt login using said username and password (even with a non simple password) on different IP/different device, you're locked out and forced to give a phone number to "Verifiy your identity".....

        You don't have to use a phone number, you can also use a "primary" email address.

        1. Dave 15 Silver badge

          Re: Skype:

          That makes a huge difference. I don't want to verify myself to anyone not least a damned nsa server. I do use different machines, I do use different locations and I don't want a bloody stupid pop up if I swap machine or location. My password is secure enough for my cares.

      2. Gis Bun

        Re: Skype:

        Have 3 MS accounts. None of them have my phone number. All use one of the others for verifications.

        Other stuff mentioned must be you....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Skype:

      legalised ransom ware.

      Please explain.

      Are you forced to use it it?

      No.

      Does it encrypt all your files?

      No.

      Does it demand payment?

      No.

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Skype:

        er...

        Am I forced to go to work.... no, but it certainly makes paying the bills easier

        Am I forced to drink tea... no but its nicer than coffee

        The facts are that in modern life there are somethings that may not be forced on you but certainly are so beneficial that they are near a necessity.

        By removing my access to my account they are worse than encrypting my files they are removing my access to the data, contacts, contact information and friends on that account, just as bad in many respects.

        Then it does demand payment, it demands payment in the form of more data than I want to give. Why should I give MS and therefore the NSA etc. personal information? It is damned hard to set up one of the new accounts without doing so.

        One thing I didn't notice here, when I swap my account does it keep contacts, conversations, data etc from my old account on my new one so it is painless (well apart from the setting up of the new account, the remembering that you now need a different account, updating CVs and everything else that points to the account etc etc etc etc etc etc)

  8. Nolveys Silver badge

    Recommended Upgrade Path

    What's the recommended upgrade path from "I uninstalled skype as soon as Redmond consumed it"? Usually there's an upgrade option under the help menu, but I'm not seeing it in the interface of "I haven't run your shit on this machine for years, you fucking assholes."

    I'll see if I can find an installer over at www.ihopeyoudieinafireyoufesteringcunts.com, I'll let you know how it goes.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else noticed how the call quality has dropped off lately? seriously starting to look for an alternative now.

  10. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Old news

    I stopped using Skype once MS starting enforcing MS logins for using it and I could no longer use the minimalist and usable client for MacOS. For chat there are hundreds of alternatives and for conferencing Hangouts has been more stable for years. Video chat has only ever really had novelty value but, again, Google has this nailed.

    I have one customer where I have to use Skype for Business on their hardware and network. While it generally seems to work for me, many users complain that it is unreliable for voice so they dial-in on their VoIP lines which are sharing the ethernet with their computers.

    1. druck
      Stop

      Re: Old news

      I stopped using Skype then, but I didn't get around to installing it from every machine until a few months ago, when we suddenly found it started up automatically after Windows updates, despite being set not to.

  11. IsJustabloke Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Interop...

    Are there any alternatives to Skype that will talk to a skype client?

  12. razorfishsl

    So... this new Skype, is obviously not the same as the crap that has just been introduced and does not work reliably in a corporate environment.

    Nor is it hopefully the same 2016 crap that requires you to have both a 365 account & an outlook.com account to work correctly for the licensing.

  13. David Austin

    Meh

    Moved to Discord last year for IM's and not looked back, as I tend to hang wither gaming crowds and they all jumped over with me.

    It is genuinely refreshing to have a client that I like using rather than seeing as a necessary evil: Just like the good ol' Windows messenger days.

    Video calling's coming in Discord later this year: Can't see Skype sticking around on my desktop after that happens.

  14. razorfishsl

    Scum bags have not told anyone that the new clients also prevent you from using any domain account tied to a business that uses a M$ server.

    Also force you to enter a genuine name/email-address as the id, plus forcefully insert spaces to beak functionality

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know what would be good?

    A Skype where you don't miss notifications because you have more than one device signed in. This may just be me but if I make the mistake of leaving my phone signed in when I am at home, my laptop never alerts me to incoming messages and, probably due to the vagaries of the nO2 notwork, the alerts appear on my phone several hours late.

    1. zanshin

      Re: You know what would be good?

      The fact that I get Skype notifications on multiple devices is one of the primary reasons I've used it for so long. That aspect is still working fine for me.

      Call quality is still mostly fine for me, but lately my friends on the newer PC client have problems where they are marked off-line even when using their devices. As in they actually find their client has switched to marking them invisible. It's annoying.

      I'm also not a fan of the changes they've been made to the UI over the last couple of years. I preferred the simple, time-stamped list of messages. I don't need the colorful chat bubbles. They take up more room, hide time stamps by default, and lump together successive messages that might have been sent hours apart.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I cant help corporates.

    But for my small operation I use x-lite on Linux and 3c.co.uk for free inbound ddi.

    Outbound calls are done from an unlisted giffgaff SIM.

    Benefits: Can have a free DDI per customer which means I can ditch a DDI if I want to completely sever contact with a shit client.

    Giffgaff is cheap so calls cost peanuts.

    No IM so I dont get long lost Nigerian relatives begging for money.

    Everyone is a winner.

  17. cyclical

    We've trialled using Slack video conferencing since we have people on linux (via web), osx and windows spread out over the country, but it's expensive for larger teams, and it doesn't seem to scale quite as well right now - for up to 8 people it's workable, but if enough people are working from home we get a noticeable drop in quality and stability. Skype for Business causes us endless problems however (crashes to desktop, weird missing audio issues, clunky invitation system in outlook that sometimes doesn't work).

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Only had brief experience with Slack's conferencing stuff but the experience was dreadful: resource hog with lots of dropped connections. Still very much a "work in progress".

      Google really knows their network and codec shit: give Hangouts a go.

  18. Dave 15 Silver badge

    OH c...p

    What they really mean is 'the nsa cant spy on you without the update'.

    My biggest worry is that they will make skype as shit as skype for business (lync in the old days), that app regularly crashes, regularly loses voice, cant cope in anything but massive network infrastructure and is a crock.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They didn't wait at all!

    My machine simply woke up from suspension, (Windows 10) performed the update, rebooted itself, and asked for my skype login credentials upon reboot.

    No waiting for permission involved at all.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Full version offline installer

    Skype Latest Version Offline Installer:

    http://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-windows/

    Just use the link you will be redirected to the page where you can download the offilne installer

    the Complete and offline installer is here:

    http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-full

    https://community.skype.com/t5/Windows-desktop-client/Skype-Latest-Version-Offline-Installer/td-p/4065236

  21. Bushwood Smithie

    "bye bye"

    I stopped updating Skype when they quietly changed the EULA to say that Microsoft could remove any software they wanted to off of your computer without notice.

    I guess it's time to just delete it and move on.

  22. GBE

    Fixed that for you...

    ITYM "þe olde ſkype"

  23. Paratrooping Parrot
    Megaphone

    What happens to Skype phones?

    As above, do Skype phones work on the new system?

  24. Doctor Evil

    adventures with Skype updates

    (1) read el Reg article, become alarmed at the potential loss of Skype services and connectivity with family and friends come March 1, so ...

    (2) start up Skype, run Check For Updates, attempt to download Skype update. Fails inexplicably with a cryptic message.

    (3) navigate to Skype download page, get Skype update downloaded manually.

    (4) run Skype updater; fails with "Skype update failed: error 1603"

    (5) google for "Skype update failed error 1603", find instructions to uninstall Skype completely, download Microsoft "fix-it" tool to (rather vaguely) mitigate "problems that block programs from being installed or removed"

    ...

    and on and on we go, and where she stops, nobody knows! It's enough to drive one to drink.

    1. Doctor Evil

      further adventures with Skype updates

      (6) uninstall old Skype plus related software found in applications list

      (7) discover downloaded "fix-it" tool is in the form of a DIAGCAB file. Archaic system doesn't know what to do with that.

      (8) run Skype installer anyway. Run loopback test, seems to work.

      (9) go to the pub anyway.

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