Skype sets a course for the cloud, ditching some apps on the way

The messaging service is moving to a new architecture, and leaving some systems behind

Skype is leaving behind its peer-to-peer roots and going all in on the cloud. While the popular messaging app made it this far by facilitating connections between computers for video calls and other communications, it's moving to a cloud architecture that is supposed to improve performance and expand the service's capabilities.

According to Skype Corporate Vice President Amritansh Raghav, the architecture shift has taken three years of work. It is supposed to provide a number of benefits, including improved message syncing across devices. Certain Skype features are already built on top of the new cloud infrastructure, including the mobile group video calling and live translation features that the service introduced recently.

It's an important move, considering that Skype is facing competition from the likes of Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Telegram, Line, and WeChat.

It's not clear what the privacy and security implications of this change to a centralized infrastructure are. A Guardian report from 2013 claimed that it was possible for Microsoft to hand over information sent through its Skype servers in response to government data requests.

Skype was not available to comment on any privacy issues by press time.

With that transition comes the end of support for some legacy platforms. Skype is going to be shutting down its apps for televisions and the PlayStation Vita handheld gaming console. In addition, the service won't support iPads and iPhones running anything older than iOS 8 or Android devices running anything older than version 4.0.3 of Google's mobile operating system.

Mac users will still be able to communicate with one another going all the way back to OS X Snow Leopard. Windows users will get the longest tail of support, however. Windows XP, a 15-year-old operating system that Microsoft hasn't supported for a year, will get a Skype client that supports the new, cloud-based infrastructure.

(Windows Vista, 7, and 8 will all be supported, too.)

The news comes as Skype recently released a set of updates for its Windows 10 app beta on both desktop and mobile, along with new alpha clients for Linux and Chrome OS.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?