back to article Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop duke it out: Only Electron left standing

Hot on the heels of Teams getting personal comes a shake-up for Skype that will see Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop becoming one. Put another way, it means Skype for Windows 10 ending up on the receiving end of a long-expected swing from the executioner's axe, in a manner of speaking. Both apps will remain …

  1. Elledan

    The future is a website?

    Any bets on how long it'll take for Windows 10 to turn into just an Edge instance that logs into the Microsoft Cloud, like some kind of Chromebook?

    Clearly TypeScript is the language to learn if one wants to make it at MSFT.

  2. Charles Smith

    Classic

    This is classic Microsoft. You'll get what we think you need and not what you want. If you don't want Teams you clearly have an issue in understanding the problem. ;)

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Classic

      Yep, if you don't want uncontolled and unmanageable data sharing... don't use Microsoft Teams.

      It's an issue that's been raised a lot of times over the last few years but Microsoft's only response has been to reply that it's up to Microsoft how our staff at our organisations share and leak confidential and privileged data and how it's not backed up and how it's definitely going to be stored on Microsoft's cloud servers which sit in the jurisdiction of a regime with no data protection.

      I get the point about encouraging teamwork, however this often has to be controlled and managed and optional in a professional environment. Microsoft is not the organisation that will suffer for the data leaks.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Classic

      "You vill do it our way or get the hell off MY platform" says Microsoft.

      Once upon a time your computer was yours. No longer. It is owned by the software makers that graciously grant you a temporary license to use it.

      No news there then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Classic

        "Once upon a time your computer was yours. No longer. It is owned by the software makers that graciously grant you a temporary license to use it.

        No news there then."

        That's a really interesting point.

        Licensed software is all pervasive now. It wasn't always the case.

        Going back 40 years (it's relevant!), you'd buy a computer, perhaps an operating system, then write your own apps. That's how it was 1950s-1970s. Initially, you bought from your computer manufacturer, then you could buy from third parties.

        Buying licensed software has become so entrenched since then - even more so since your iPhone or Galaxy, where you are compelled to use licensed software - that the alternative isn't obvious anymore!

        Modern software development is both insanely complex (layer upon layer of abstraction and virtualisation) yet apparently easier (modern IDEs are relatively good) that it isn't practical anymore to write your own software (impractical=it would take you a long time to do it, not that you couldn't do it).

        1. fpx
          Boffin

          Re: Classic

          > "it isn't practical anymore to write your own software"

          That's always been the case since computers became cheaper than the team of engineers you needed to run them. Certainly for the last 40 years.

          What irks me is the DRM built into online activation of licenses these days. I can still run the software that I purchased 40 years ago in an emulator. With contemporary software, that will not be possible, because they will refuse to work once their licensing services are switched off or have merely been upgraded to a more recent version.

    3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Classic

      They're just copying Apple

  3. Forget It
    Windows

    FeatureDrop

    - another suggestion for the Microsoft moniker

    https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2020/05/07/what_to_call_microsoft/

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: FeatureDrop

      Nah, that'd be a better name for the Mozilla Foundation.

  4. LDS Silver badge

    "transition from Classic Skype to something more modern"

    When "modern" started to mean bloated, features-lacking, less usable? Do we need to turn into a "Luddite" to get sleek, usable software?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: "transition from Classic Skype to something more modern"

      It is like Teams and VSCode, they all are incredibly lardy applications, being based on Electron.

      The world is going mad.

  5. Blitheringeejit
    FAIL

    This is just a Windows user distraction...

    ...from the main problem with Skype, which (on the basis of a wasted hour of my life yesterday) is that it doesn't work for calls between Windows and linux, Windows and Android, or Windows and my iPhone. Which makes it pretty useless as a communications device. Every call was ended with "xxx is not online", whichever direction the call was made from, even though in all cases the destination device most certainly was online and logged in - because I was holding the bloody thing in my other hand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is just a Windows user distraction...

      They lost me when i couldn't make a call from Skype for business to consumer skype and vice - versa- cue gadzillions hours of wasted phone calls/emails back and forward and usually ending in 'Oh - I thought this was on Skype for business - hold on I'll put your mobile on the conference phone....'

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: This is just a Windows user distraction...

      I'm routinely using it to call colleagues on variety of devices - including Androids and iPhones - and it does work, albeit the UI is far from being well designed and intuitive.

    3. logicalextreme Bronze badge

      Re: This is just a Windows user distraction...

      It's not all that reliable for calls between Windows and Windows either, in my brief experience with it.

    4. kschrock

      Bull

      On consumer Skype I do text, calls, video, etc from my Linux machine to Android phones, Fire tablets, Win10 boxes and everything else, and get messages from all varieties. I put $10 on it 5 years ago and still have a $4.19 balance. I haven't had a single problem with it ever.

      You need to look elsewhere for your problem.

  6. karlkarl Silver badge

    Rather than flailing about, imagine if those developer hours were spent on something useful to benefit mankind.

    Software Engineer skill is simply wasted at Microsoft.

    There should be a law that if you drop something you have to release it open-source. Then it will surprise us how thoughtful and un-wasteful Microsoft will become with their projects ;)

    1. Inkey

      I like the idea... Made me wonder if they would exceed what m$ did with them .. Balence of past experiences etc... More than likely...

  7. Paul 195
    Windows

    Dropping Skype for Business is a good idea. It never had any real connection with the consumer version of skype, and was not as good. Dropping (Consumer) Skype seems less likely as it is a brand with good recognition and value. Teams is OK, but by trying to be an uber-app that does everything, it's a video app that isn't quite as good as Zoom, a chat app that isn't as good as Slack... and so on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and Teams is the one bit of our clever SSO technology that seems to quite enjoy arbitrarily getting the huff and saying you can't log in without a reboot....

    2. FordPrefect

      Only problem is consumer skype seems to be so 5 years ago. Most people seem to have moved onto facebook messenger or whatsapp. I only of one person that is still a skype hold out.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        I've used Skype for projects where screensharing is important and it's been pretty good on the whole. Occasionally there are problems getting audio to work properly, so a restart of the call is necessary, but at the moment, as a multi-platform desktop conference app, I'd reckon it's the best: the Electron-based stuff just chews CPU cycles.

  8. Maximum Delfango
    Facepalm

    Oh Jesus, why?

    Teams is an Electron app and is the biggest clunkiest piece of shit software I've used for decades; hell, even Lotus Notes was more elegant and intuitive.

    And Microsoft want to make more applications of theirs look and act like Teams? Either their senior management is retarded or they're saboteurs from Apple.

    1. FordPrefect

      Re: Oh Jesus, why?

      Agreed. Teams UI is awful.

      1. Mark192 Bronze badge

        Re: Oh Jesus, why?

        All the UI is moving towards awful. Buttons that look like labels/headings/titles and are placed in places where you expect labels/headings/titles to be.

        I get why they do it (catering for mobile and desktop with the same 'things') but there's got to be a more intuitive way to do it.

        1. logicalextreme Bronze badge

          Re: Oh Jesus, why?

          It takes a lot of clicks just to join a call, and on buttons that aren't near each other to boot. Surely if I've clicked "Join" you can assume that I'm aware of the potential repercussions and you can just have me join the call without dropping me into the app where I then have to click join again to get to a staging area where I can toggle my camera and mic preemptively before FOR REALS joining.

          1. 9Rune5 Silver badge

            Re: Oh Jesus, why?

            I sort of agree, but I notice many people struggle getting the hang of this. (they seem to struggle with all aspects of life, but that is another discussion)

            And even when they finally get the hang of joining, you can bet they will sit through an entire meeting with their microphone unmuted -- even though they don't utter one intelligible word throughout the ordeal. (For fun, put the microphone down, leave the room and your microphone amp will automatically be turned to 11 trying to pick up any sound you make... Everyone on the call will be bothered by the extra noise)

      2. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: Oh Jesus, why?

        And it is now automajically installing itself as parts of Office even when you don't want it, have no intention of using it for personal stuff and don't want to sign into a Microsoft account just to get into Windows.

        I assume it came as part of the Office package or maybe it was Windows Update. You have to go and tell it not to run.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Oh Jesus, why?

      hmm but the release of IBM Notes 8 was a similar bloat fest (It actually included a c++ low end client which was basically Notes 7, the Eclipse Java based version was the newer client), I really liked it (To me it was the first time the Notes Client actually felt modern and webmail side was also to me brilliant) but had to upgrade the majority of work machines well with it. It feels the same with Teams (Although its just an overkill im app), our older machines with 4GB simply need more memory to run reasonably.

      *Edit 1 version ahead and I think it was called IBM Notes in version 8

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the new version, can you resize a shared desktop if the presenter uses a different screen resolution than you do? 4k laptop displays are great, but MS brings some real usability issues with them.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Usability issues...

      Micros~1 "usability issues" are by no means limited to (mis-)managing large pixel counts. Case-in point: the damfool "Add a contact to this group" dialog. After roughly 35 years of CUA guidance, you'd think that:

      1) Micros~1 would be able to figure out what the default control is, and how to get focus to it. (Hint, you fools: its the edit box in which you add the name of the contact.)

      2) Micros~1 would not enable a control, if the user's activating it resulted in an error. Why is the Add button active when there is nothing in the contact name edit box? (Hint: because there isn't anyone working within 25 miles of that project who has a fucking clue as to how to develop a Graphical User Interface (which, nowadays goes by the Millennial moniker "User Experience").)

      Fekkin' morons, the lot of them.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I only continue to use Skype because MS release a Linux version, but if Whatapp was made available for desktops OS's, so I could video chat from my laptop I would probably switch to using that as I found I get less problems with video and audio quality compared to Skype. sometimes I have to hang up the Skype call and contact the person back to stop the video looking like a Picasso painting and then it seems to work fine. So I can only assume the 'poor connection' messages were actually overloaded Skype servers and calling back puts me through to a different server which isn't overloaded and then the videos look OK again

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      I only continue to use Skype because MS release a Linux version,

      Isn't the only choice for Skype on Linux, an Electron app?

      I used to use Skype for the off contact linux to windows, but it got worse when the old linux client was dropped for an Electron app (and it was never good to start with).

  11. Old one

    Disaster in waiting

    Wish I knew how long I've used Skype -- too long. Anyone remember Ring Central from the 90s? Last update wiped out my microphone software Win 7 Home 64 Toshiba Sat L775. Doesn't matter what input - mic, USB headset, or the mic audio inputs all do not record on MS Sound recorder or Skype test. No mic and Skype is useless - and Skype help ha ha another joke please.. Downloaded the last three versions & ran hours of tests looking for bad drivers etc. All waste of time. Older version still works on my 12 year old desktop for now but its hard drive has hit failure mode... afraid IF it goes down that it will never boot off the drive again - Win 7 Pro 64. Considering I talk about 20 minutes per month on the VOIP - don't own a cell phone - it shouldn't be a big deal. Just extremely annoying that a product that is working well gets broke by some meathead with better ideas than "IF it ain't broke, DON'T fix it". Thing is that since I became mobility challenged 5 years ago, having the Skype on my laptop was very convenient. Any calls to the desktop must leave messages because of the time it takes to physically get to that machine. Just venting........

  12. thondwe

    Messaging Mess

    So my daughters switch between WhatsApp (until one of parties phones dies), Zoom, Duo, Facetime (IIF all parties on Apple). But not Skype - despite them all playing Minecraft with a Microsoft Account! I'm stuck with Teams and Zoom and am being threatened with a "SoftPhone" despite both Zoom and Teams being phone capable.

    Once upon a time, everyone used a "phone" to talk to anyone else with a "phone" and could message anyone via e-mail who had an "e-mail account".

    Hey Ho.

    (PS: Teams Video/Chat is Skype (Consumer Skype as was), they are now "popping out" Windows (An App with Multiple Windows way to go) for Chat, etc. - so why on earth didn't they just pop out the Skype Client instead!)

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Messaging Mess

      Due to standards we have telephones that can be used to speak to almost anyone else on the planet.

      We are replacing this with a lot of bespoke, non-standardised walled gardens that can't communicate outside the garden...

  13. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Teams blows donkeys

    It suffers from the same problems as Word and many other MS programs. It's trying to be everything to everyone and failing badly at most. Skype is not perfect but it does a few jobs pretty well. I guess with time I'll get used to Teams but I am pretty bored of the Microsoft merry-go-round where they change everything just for the sake of change every few years. I have no problem with change, but change for changes sake pisses me off. Roll on retirement!

  14. prof_peter

    I suppose using Electron explains the incredibly bad Teams UI? We've gone to Teams for our phone system, and the best part about the Mac client is how incoming calls pop up *under* every other window, so you have to frantically move them all aside to answer the call. Pure genius.

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