Skype is #1 in Top 11 Video Chats

Skype
Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system. Skype has also become popular for its additional features which include instant messaging, file transfer, and videoconferencing. Skype alternative for enterprise is called Skype for Business.

Skype video

Positions in ratings


#1 in Top 11 Video Chats

#1 in Top 22 Messengers

#1 in Top 11 VoIP services

Alternatives


The best alternatives to Skype are: Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Google Meet, Slack, WebEx, Viber



Latest news about Skype


2020. Skype has a Zoom-like video call function called 'Meet Now'



Skype kindly reminded the world of its existence with a tweet. It turns out that Skype actually has a video chat Zoom-like functionality called Meet Now that doesn't require having a Skype account or the app. Skype Meet Now lets you generate a meeting URL that you can send to participants. It's easy to use in the web-based client but if you select the option of opening the Skype app, the meeting wouldn't open. Which brings us to why Skype appears to have missed the boat on the video calling boom.




2019. Skype added features for work with important messages



Skype is used mainly for video communications, but it wants to be useful as a messenger also. Of course, it's nearly impossible to win over whatsapps and vibers now, so Skype is looking for new niches. In the latest update, the developers added some (unusual for a messenger) features: drafts and bookmarks. Drafts - allow you to save the started message so that you can return to it later and finish it. Bookmarks - allow you to save received messages so that you can quickly find them later. Obviously, both of these features are designed to work with important messages. Perhaps Skype wants to create a new niche - something between messengers and email, and this can be useful for business users.


2019. Skype launched screen sharing on iOS and Android


Skype announced on Tuesday that its mobile screen sharing feature now allows both iOS and Android users to share their phone’s screen while on a call. The feature could be used for work-related purposes, as Microsoft has suggested in the past — like sharing a PowerPoint presentation. More practically, it could be used to give remote tech help. To access the option, Skype users will tap the newly added “…” (more) menu in the app. This is where you’ll find other recently launched features, as well, including call recording and subtitles. Also new in this release of Skype for mobile is a redesigned calling screen that now lets you dismiss the call controls with one tap. A second tap dismisses all the controls to make the video call itself the focus. And another tap brings all the controls back.


2019. Skype can now blur the background during video calls



Skype added a new feature that might raise its appeal among users. It's screen-blurring feature designed to obscure your messy room or any other background details that you’d rather weren’t on display to the other party on the line. Skype said that the feature — which is similar to the blurring added to Microsoft Teams last year — uses artificial intelligence to keep the focus on the caller. That also means it will detect features such as hair, hands and arms. The feature is rolling out to Skype for desktop, the web and mobile, although it doesn’t support all devices yet. It can be enabled in Skype’s settings or from the video call button inside the service.


2018. Skype and PowerPoint got real-time subtitles


PowerPoint and Skype are getting real-time captions and subtitles in 2019. The new feature allows those who are deaf or hard of hearing to read the words that are spoken during presentations in PowerPoint or video calls in Skype.  The subtitles also allow speakers to include a translation of a presentation. Live captions and subtitles will support 12 spoken languages and display on-screen in more than 60 different languages. Presenters will be able to customize the appearance of subtitles to match a presentation, and the speech recognition should adapt for more accurate terminology based on context. In Skype subtitles will be available in one-to-one video-calls. Once turned on, they will auto-scroll during the call, but Microsoft says it’s working to offer other viewing options in the future. Specifically, Skype will soon allow you to scroll through the captions in a side window.


2018. Skype rolls back its unwanted redesign



Last year Skype introduced a colorful, Snapchat-inspired makeover which included its own version of "stories". The redesign had been met with a lot of backlash. Now Microsoft admitted that the changes it had introduced weren’t working. Instead, the app is introducing a simpler navigation model where there are now just three buttons at the bottom of the mobile app – Chats, Calls, and Contacts. Highlights and Capture are both gone. With the new desktop version of Skype, the company now says it’s moving the Chats, Calls, Contacts, and Notifications to the top left of the window to make it easier for long-time Skype users to understand. Skype also toned down its over-the-top use of color in the app and introduced a Skype “Classic” blue theme adjusted for contrast and readability.


2018. Skype 8.0 adds HD video, encryption & call recording



Microsoft today is launching Skype 8.0 version for desktop that adds support of HD (1080px video) video calls which can include up to 24 people, as well as the Twitter-inspired @mentions. Later this summer it will also get end-to-end encryption for Skype audio calls, text messages, and shared files like images, audio and video. The calls will be secured by the industry standard Signal Protocol. Messages and notifications in these conversations will also be hidden in the chat list to keep the communication private. Besodes, Skype is adding built-in call recording. The calls will be recorded in the cloud and everyone in the call will be notified the call is being recorded, for privacy’s sake and for legal reasons.


2018. Skype adds new feature for recording video calls



Microsoft has developed a new mode “Skype for Content Creators” will allow desktop users to place and record calls using Skype desktop software, which can either be streamed live or imported into other apps for further editing before posting. This will allow digital broadcasters, streamers, and vloggers to record videos, podcasts and live streaming calls without having to invest in expensive studio equipment.  The feature will work best for those who record video chats with other remote guests – like for a weekly call-in show – but it can also work for calls that are live streamed to other platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.


2017. Skype introduced Professional accounts



Skype announced the new account type - Professional Account - freelancers and online entrepreneurs, that give online lessons, tutoring and consulting. The Skype Professional Account desktop client, soon to be released in preview in the U.S., adds powerful new features to Skype to make doing your online business a whole lot easier. In addition to meeting with your clients as you have been on Skype, you can also book those meetings, accept payments, and keep notes—all in one place. Skype Professional Account gives you the power to do business from one app for free (during the preview). From French tutors to yoga instructors, you’ll be able to book lessons, accept payments, and give lessons all from one place, seamlessly. Plus, we’ve added an enhanced profile page to help improve your online presence and a dedicated website for your small business right in Skype. Your contacts will be able to see pertinent info like your hours and business offerings. All the features work together. For example, a payment request can be sent along with a booking.


2017. Skype radically redesigned mobile and desktop apps



In June, Microsoft introduced a completely revamped version of its Skype app, designed with a heavier focus on media-sharing, and other social expression tools, like emoji, reactions, and even a Snapchat-like stories feature. Now that new experience is rolling out to desktop users. Group chats are multi-colored, emojis can be used to react to what others are saying while in video calls or in text conversations. But there are some additions that will be useful in the new Skype desktop, despite all this social app envy. For example, a new media gallery can be viewed on the right side of a group chat, which makes it easier to locate shared files, like documents, spreadsheets, photos or other media, that had been posted into the group.


2016. Skype adds real-time translation to all VoIP calls



Last year Skype launched built-in Translator that allows to translate speech in real-time. Until now this feature was available only in video chat, but in the new version you'll be able to call people around the world and have your conversation interpreted instantaneously - even if they're using the last remaining rotary phone. When placing a call, users just need to set their language of choice and the tool will take care of the rest. The person on the other end of the line will hear a message stating that the call is being recorded and translated through the service, which will be very clear once the conversation begins. Windows Insider Program members will be the first to have access to the new feature. To date, nine spoken languages are supported: English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic and Russian.


2016. Skype now allows to make calls without registration


Last year Skype enabled to invite to chat or video call people that don't have Skype account. Now it's possible to start chat and calls without registration also. All you have to do is go to Skype.com and click "Start a Conversation." You type in your name, it creates the chat with its own unique link that you can send to friends or colleagues. They don't need to use an account either. You can invite up to 300 people in a text chat or up to 25 on voice or video calls. The conversation only lasts for 24 hours, so you won't be able to go through your post history afterwards. You also won't be able to use Skype Translator or call phone numbers with the service; those still require you to have a Skype account.


2016. Skype gets Bots


In the new version of the Skype for Windows 10, Microsoft added several Skype bots, the automated chat assistants that it introduced earlier this year in a limited preview. The new bots include those that can help you make travel arrangements, locate event tickets, pull in information from other applications and services and even keep you entertained. For example, the Skyscanner Bot lets you search for individual or group flights, return pricing information and route options. Then, it will provide a link where users can go to complete the booking.


2016. Microsoft launched free Skype Meetings for small business


Microsoft launched Skype Meetings, a new audio and video conferencing tool specifically designed for small businesses. Unlike the fully featured Skype for Business product (that allows you to host meetings with up to 250 people and it’s deeply integrated into Outlook, Word and PowerPoint), Skype Meetings only allows PowerPoint collaboration (screen sharing, laser pointer, etc.) and screen sharing. Video calls are also limited to a maximum of 10 people during the first two months. After that, the maximum number of participants drops to three people. Participants can join Skype Meetings from virtually any device with the help of a personalized URL and the calls are powered by the same technology as Skype for Business calls. That means you will get to take advantage of Skype’s head tracking feature, for example, which ensures that a face will always be in the center of the screen, no matter where it is in the actual video image.


2016. Skype voice and video calls now work plugin-free in Microsoft Edge



Microsoft is making Skype in the browser plugin-free, but for now - only in Microsoft Edge. Other browsers, including IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari, will continue to require plugins as before. This includes Outlook.com, Office Online, and OneDrive, all of which, along with Skype for Web, will now support real-time, plugin-free voice, video and group calling when you’re using Microsoft Edge. The company has been more recently working on ways to allow anyone to join a Skype chat, even if they don’t have an account. Skype for Web was one easy way to connect these invitees to your chat session, but installing browser plugins could slow down that experience. Now when those users are on Edge, they can just click a link and start chatting.


2016. Skype for Web now supports calling to mobile phones, landlines



Browser-based Skype for Web is getting a slew of new features that brings it more in line with its desktop and mobile counterparts – most notably the added ability to dial mobile phones and landlines. To make calls to mobile phones or landlines from the browser, you’ll need a subscription or Skype credit, as on other platforms. Then, once signed in, you can click on the phone call tab, pick a destination, and dial. Besides, the web version also now allows you to bring non-Skype users into a conversation easily, introduces notifications, and lets you watch YouTube videos in Skype for Web itself.


2016. Skype discontinues its video messaging app Qik



Skype Qik, Microsoft’s attempt at spinning off video messaging into a simplified mobile application, is shutting down. The app was first introduced in fall 2014 to serve a different audience than the larger, more fully-featured, Skype application. Instead of offering real-time chat, screen sharing and audio and video calling, Qik was designed only for asynchronous video messaging. The app shared its name with the mobile video startup Skype acquired back in 2011, but the technologies were completely different. The older version of Qik was about live streaming. With new Qik, users could communicate by quickly sending video messages.  However, according to a post on the Skype Developers’ blog, many of the ideas from Qik have now made their way over to Skype’s main application – including video messaging. Because Skype now supports Qik’s core functionality, the Qik app is being shut down.


2016. Skype integrated with Slack



The new Slack integration allows team members using Slack’s real-time communication software a way to quickly start Skype voice or video call from within the Slack application. Once installed, kicking off a Skype call is as simple as just typing in “/skype” into the Slack chat interface, which will then display a join link. On the desktop, you’ll only need a web browser plugin, while on mobile, you’ll need to download the Skype mobile application onto your smartphone. Slack team members can also join as guests on a computer, or they can sign in using their Skype name or Microsoft account information.


2016. Skype adds free group video calls to mobile apps



Skype announced the launch of free group video calling on Android, iPhone, iPad and Windows 10 mobile devices. The feature has been available for a couple of years on the desktop, for both Mac and PC, but had yet to make its way to mobile. Once it's live, the update will allow Skype users to make video calls with as many as 25 participants for free. While Skype has supported group video calls for some time, the feature was previously available only to those who subscribed to Skype for Business (though the free apps have supported group audio calls.)


2015. Skype for Web is available globally



Skype has opened its web-based client beta to the entire world, after launching it broadly in the U.S. and U.K. earlier this month. Skype for Web also now supports Chromebook and Linux for instant messaging communication (no voice and video yet, those require a plug-in installation). To get at the Skype for Web Beta, just head to either web.skype.com or Skype.com and login when prompted. Based on my limited experience with the beta, it works as advertised, and now that Chromebooks get IM support, it should be a lot more useful to people looking to travel light and cheap and stay connected from wherever they want to communicate, with or without their own PC.


2014. Microsoft launches Skype for Web



Skype has brought its instant messaging, voice and video chat service to the browser with a new beta available now. For now it requires you to install a small plug-in to get voice and video calls, but Microsoft promises to bring Real-Time Communications (RTC) support, so you'll be able to use it without any plug-ins. Skype for Web works on Chrome for Windows, IE, Firefox or Safari. Chrome on Chromebooks and non-Windows platforms can use Skype for Web for instant messaging, but not yet for voice and video because the plugin hasn’t been configured for them yet. Skype had already come to the web in one form thanks to a plug-in for Outlook.com launched globally earlier this year, which enabled text, video and voice chat through the company’s web-based email inbox service.


2014. Microsoft launched video messaging service Skype Qik


Microsoft unveiled group video messaging app called Skype Qik. The cross-platform software works on iPhones, Android handsets and Windows Phones. Skype Qik app works with single and group video messages; anyone in the group can add anyone else they’d like using a phone number. To record a video message, users simply press the large pink button in the app. Messages last up to two weeks before they automatically disappear, although you can manually delete them as well. Contacts that don’t have Skype Qik installed will get a text message to explain how they can install the app and become part of the conversation. Short messages — called Qik Fliks —  can also be captured and sent as five-second animated GIFs; these can also be saved for re-use.


2014. Skype 7 refocuses on chat



Skype has introduced new versions of its desktop clients: Skype 7 for Mac and preview of Skype for Windows now share the same design. The Skype redesign mimics Skype on mobile and will definitely take some getting used to on the desktop, but once you grow accustomed to the big aesthetic changes, the small functional ones are what really impress. For instance, now in your chat window you’ll be able to view shared image files instantly in-line once they download, instead of having to click a little icon to view or preview them. The Windows versions has increase spacing between your contacts list and your chat and there are message previews for things you haven’t read yet, so you can get a quick look without even switching between chats.


2014. Microsoft kills MSN Messenger for Skype



Microsoft is officially killing its 15-year-old instant messaging program Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger). Microsoft announced it would be closing Windows Live and pushing users over to Skype in 2012, but the service had stuck around in China — until now. MSN Messenger first launched in 1999 as Microsoft's answer to the then-popular AOL Instant Messenger. Like so many messaging apps before and since, it started off simple, with basic IM functionality — but soon expanded with new features such as photo messaging, screen-sharing, voice and video chatting.


2014. Skype 5.0 for iPhone looks cooler, works faster



Microsoft has launched Skype for iPhone 5.0 with major redesign and performance tweaks. The updated app looks very similar to Windows Phone. It features ribbon navigation bar at the top and on the bottom - a pair buttons that put the two most used-features based on context at thumb-point. The performance seemed significantly improved: Lag was almost imperceptible, and when there were slight delays they were ameliorated by fluid animations. The new Skype client makes it easier to start group chats and it also syncs notifications across devices — even if the recipient isn’t logged into Skype when the message is sent. The increased emphasis on text messaging makes sense, especially as startups and established companies strive to be the one messaging app to rule them all.


2014. Skype makes group video calls free


Until now, group video calling in Skype was available only in the premium accounts, which cost $8.99/month. Now this feature will be available for free so you'll be able to organize unlimited online meetings with up to 10 participants. For a while the free group video calling is only available in the desktop version (Windows and Mac) and on Xbox. Soon Microsoft will add it to the mobile versions (iOS, Android and Windows Phone). This video shows how to start a group video call. Recall that not so long ago one of Skype's competitors - GoToMeeting also launched free video chat for 3 participants.


2014. Skype for Outlook.com now available worldwide


The opportunity to make video calls via Skype right from your browser is now available for all Outlook.com users (previously this feature was only available in US and UK). In fact - this is Skype's web version, however, it doesn't mean that you don't need to install software on your computer. You still need to install browser plugin. But the plus is that you don't need to create a separate Skype-account. You just need the universal Microsoft account. Besides the global expansion, Outlook.com now can make video-calls in HD. Thus, Microsoft's Outlook.com is playing catch up with Google's GMail, that already has video calling feature via Google Hangouts. However, the advantage of Google's service is that it supports free group video calls for up to 10 people.


2013. Skype gives free group videochat and screen-sharing for 2014



Skype (or Microsoft ?) team from time to time invents some strange projects and tries to link them to Skype. For example, a year ago they tried to launch the social network Skype In The Workspace. And earlier this month they created Skype Collaboration Project. It's a site for creative people where they can get closer to the industries they love, get inspired and get on ... blah blah blah ... Victoria Beckham ... blah blah blah. At least, this project resulted in the substantial benefit: in order to draw attention to this site Skype is running the great holiday promotion. Anyone who visit Skype Collaboration Project and enter email, can get Skype's premium account features for the whole next year. It includes group video chat, screen-sharing and no advertising.


2013. Skype Video Messaging is generally available for free


Despite all expectations, Skype didn't lock video mail (introduced in winter) in the premium version. Today Skype announced that this new feature is out of beta and is available to all users for free. In addition, video messaging becomes available in Windows-client and Blackberry app (at first it only worked on Mac, iOS and Android). Only Windows Phone users remain disadvantaged. How to use Skype Video Messaging? Watch the video.


2013. Skype comes to Outlook.com


Finally Microsoft begins to integrate Skype into its products. The main  competitor Google already for a long time provides the chat with voice and video in the email service GMail. Therefore from the Microsoft's side (having the Skype) it would be a crime not to add the same functionality into the Outlook.com. And that's exactly what they done. True, for now this feature is only available in UK and only in few weeks it will appear for the rest of us. To enable chat, voice and video calls in your Outlook.com inbox, you'll have  to install the browser plug-in (for Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox) like in the GMail. You can use Skype with your existing Microsoft account, so you don't have to create a new account. If you already have a Skype account, you can link it to your Microsoft account - your Skype contacts will appear in your contact list and you can call or message them directly from Outlook.com.


2013. Promarket - industrial classifieds on top of Skype


Recently Skype started the strange attempt to create a business social network (or community) Skype In The Workspace. Now another startup Promaket is trying to create something similar. And it looks like their version make more sense. At least, in Promarket the communication space is divided by industry and focused on buy/sell transactions. For example, if you are selling fish, you enter the Fish chat and spam other fish-traders with your offers, or read their offers. Chat can be filtered by different keywords or by subject (buy / sell). And if you find an interesting offer - you can contact its author via private chat or make a Skype call.


2012. Skype In The Workspace - Microsoft wants to make a social network based on Skype



Looks like Microsoft has an overload of ideas on what to do with Skype, and these is no one who can kill these ideas in time. The new service called Skype In The Workspace is a combination of social network and a freelance marketplace for entrepreneurs and small businesses. There you can post opportunities (or projects) and invite people to discuss them. Of course, the discussions are hold in Skype. According to Microsoft, the service has been tested for 6 months, and now it comes out of beta. But it looks very primitive, incomplete and still haven't gained any popularity among uses. Although, there is one interesting thing in it - the authorization. It's possible not only via Skype ID, but also using your LinkedIn credentials (and no other options). So, this is one more addition to rumors that Microsoft may acquire LinkedIn.


2012. Microsoft replacing Windows Live Messenger with Skype



Glorious 12-year history of Microsoft's Windows-messenger is coming to the end. The company begins transition of 100 million Windows Live Messenger users to Skype (which currently counts 280 million users). The latest version Skype 6.0 (for Windows and Mac) already allows to login using a Microsoft account. After doing so, Messenger contacts are brought over as well. Now it's interesting whether the quality of communication in Skype will suffer after such a significant increase in user base. According to numerous users, Skype quality has already started to degrade in recent month, probably because of Microsoft's manipulations for integrating Skype into its products. Recall, Microsoft acquired Skype last year for $8.5 billion. Later it turned out that Microsoft, paid billions because of its senior executive, Joe Williams, who ran the Microsoft Lync business, believed that Skype was going to eat Microsoft’s lunch in the enterprise.


2012. Skype + Windows Phone 8 = ideal communication device


Skype has never been a complete communication app for smartphones. At first because of the lack of multitasking, then, because it didn't work in the sleep mode, and then, because Skype quickly drain battery. But in the new operating system Windows Phone 8 (which was released yesterday) all these problems are solved. While Microsoft didn't dare to inbuild Skype in the desktop version Windows 8 (to avoid antitrust problems), no one stopped the company of making Skype an integrated part of the mobile OS Windows Phone (at the hardware level). It's fully integrated with phone contacts and allows to receive calls in the same way as calls via the regular GSM network (of course if you have internet connection). So now, buying Windows Phone, you are buying not just a mobile computer, but also an ideal terminal for free/cheap communication.


2012. Microsoft created Skype for Windows 8


Skype for Windows 8 is already in production (at least on the video it works fine). Microsoft promises that it will be available on October 26 with the release of Windows 8. There are no considerable changes Skype, except, of course, its interface. It's optimized for touch-screen tablets. But more interesting is that Skype will become the integrated component in Windows. Hardly Microsoft will inbuild Skype in Windows (to avoid antitrust claims), but, for sure, Skype will be placed on the first page in Windows Store - the main source for Windows 8 apps. And if someone wants to install t his tablet or computer app for video chat and IP-telephony, the first thing he sees - is Skype. Thus, the bright future of Skype will be secured, but, of course, it depends on the bright future of the operating system Windows itself.


2012. Skype finally comes to Windows Phone


Nine months (!) after Microsoft announced the acquisition of Skype, this messenger finally comes to Windows Phone (in beta version so far). Interestingly, already after the deal with Microsoft, Skype appeared on the competing platform Android and before that it worked on the iPhone. The things got so bad that in November 2011 Microsoft began to preinstall the alternative video chat app Tango on Windows Phones. But now this circus is over - Skype for Windows Phone is already available for free download from the marketplace. However, it doesn't work in the background, so for now you have to launch it every time to make a call or send a message (or launch it to receive a call). Also  the beta version doesn't allow to add/edit contacts. And if the absence of Skype was the only thing that stopped you from buying Windows Phone, do not forget about the main thing - check that the Windows Phone has a front camera when you buy it.


2012. Skype adds Full HD support, group screen-sharing



The new version of Skype for Windows 5.8 is already available. And it adds support of high-quality video calls in Full HD (1080p). However, to use this feature you'll need an internet channel not less than 2 Mbps and a special HD web-camera that can perform hardware video compression (e.g. Logitech C920). In addition, now it's possible to share your screen (or a separate application) to a group of people. Earlier, screen-sharing in Skype worked only in one-to-one calls. However, this feature is only available in the paid version. But the free version of Skype now allows to make video calls to your contacts from Facebook. Even if these contacts don't have installed Skype. They just have to open a browser window with Facebook.


2011. Nokia and Skype not in a hurry to bring videochat to Windows Phone


Today in London, Nokia unveiled its first smartphones on Windows Phone (Mango) platform - Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. In general, they haven't disappointed anyone. Stylish, high quality, fast and reliable smartphones with pre-installed Mobile Office and Outlook, integrated to Exchange, SkyDrive, SharePoint, Office 365 - will surely attract business users. Of course, the price $580 (Lumia 800) - is not much different from the iPhone, but otherwise it has all chances to compete with iPhone and Android-devices. The only big cons - is that Nokia Lumia has no front camera, which means it doesn't support video chat, so important for business users. Why wasn't it installed? Nokia representative said that they simply had not enough time. But this is not the most shocking news about the video chat on Windows Phone.


2011. Skype opens App Store



Skype is making the second attempt to create the developer ecosystem around its service. The first attempt - Skype Extras - left an unpleasant aftertaste for developers. In 2009, after Skype was sold, the company unexpectedly announced that the Skype Extras catalog will be closed. Nevertheless the Extras where accessible in the Skype client until now, but users couldn't buy them using Skype credits. The new app directory is called Skype Apps and it replaces Extras in the Skype's Tools menu. But you also can't buy the applications in Skype Apps using Skype-credits. You have to go to the third-party site and order each application separately. The Skype Apps includes the special section for business apps. Basically there are apps for Call-Centers, call recording, screen-sharing, faxing and integration with other systems.


2011. Skype acquired group-messaging service GroupMe



Mobile group-messaging services hit the social Web this year. Basically they are designed for communication and interaction with friends and family, but (as we know) such social technologies are rapidly find their way into Enterprise. One of such services GroupMe was yesterday bought by Skype for as much as $80 million. GroupMe allows to create a group and send text messages, photos to its members, start conference calls and share your location. For example, you send a message and all group members instantly receive it. Or you can call all them at once. Such a service could be useful for mobile work-groups, which need real-time communications. For example, equipment service companies.


2011. GoToMeetings adds HD-video. Goes apart from Skype?



Last March, before Skype was acquired by Microsoft, it announced that the GoToMeating


2011. Skype as a Service - mission impossible



A couple of years ago, the IT world was excited with the idea of using Skype as a service - when any application, web-service, mobile client and any device could "talk" via Skype's network. This dream in theory came true last year when the SkypeKit SDK was launched in the closed beta. However, during the whole year SkypeKit SDK was actually used only by the couple of TV manufacturers and (perhaps) for Facebook integration. Earlier this month SkypeKit SDK was opened to all comers, but we still haven't seen any boom of new Skype-applications. And this time noone can blame Microsoft.


2011. Web video chat: Google Hangouts vs Facebook Skype



A great battle between Google and Skype (Microsoft) for the video calling market continues on a new platform - the Social Web. Last week Google launched (in Beta) their social network Google + and one of it's features is the group video chat Hangouts. And yesterday the built-in Skype-based video chat appeared in Facebook. Both video chat apps work directly in browser, which signals about the transition of video calling applications to web-technologies (although both apps require the installation of a small browser plug-in).


2011. Skype video chat is available on Android and Comcast TVs


Just yesterday we talked about the fact that Microsoft's Skype will soon launch video chat on the competing iPad platform, and today it has launched video chat on another competing platform - Android. Though, right now it works only on the few Android smartphone models: Nexus S, HTC desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo and Sony Ericsson Xperia pro. The reason is that there are a lot of specifications for Android-devices and Skype just had not enough time to cover them all. Video works over 3G and Wi-Fi (as in the Skype for iPhone). You can switch between the front and back cameras and make video calls from Android to Skype for iPhone, Mac and Windows clients (or receive calls from them). And the customers of U.S. cable provider Comcast will soon have another option - calling from smartphone to TV and back. The other day Comcast demonstrated how it will look like:


2011. Skype vs Fring on iPad


Fring was one of the first who released a special messenger for the iPad when it appeared in 2010 and even tried to get people calling via iPad, as via the usual phone. And now Fring one of the first releasing the video chat for iPad 2, and at once with the group video support (fo 4 participants). The application provides the optimized picture quality, works over Wi-Fi and 3G, and can switch between the front and back cameras, but for now can't make SIP calls to regular phones. Also, recently the video showing Skype's video chat working on the iPad has leaked to the Web (see below). Unlike Fring, this application is still under development. But it's a good sign that after the acquisition by Microsoft, Skype continues to develop its apps for the competing (Apple) platforms.


2011. Top 5 reasons why Microsoft acquired Skype

Last week, Skype again postponed its IPO. Then appeared the rumors that Facebook and Google are in talks to buy Skype. But today, suddenly Microsoft has acquired Skype for the record sum - $ 8.5 billion. With all respect to Skype - this is a very big sum. After all, Skype annual revenue is less than $1 billion and the net income is about $260 million. However, there are several reasons for Microsoft to overpay for this world's most popular messenger:


2011. Skype starts showing ads



Ok, now it becomes clear why the Skype's latest version got the home page - it will be used to run banner ads. It's pretty fair advertising scheme, especially taking into account that earlier Skype executives intended to display banners right in the video call window (during the free calls). Meanwhile the ads will be showing only in the US, UK and Germany. Of course, it will be interesting to see how Skype will solve the targeting problem. Because the effectiveness of online advertising is achieved by matching ads to user interests. At the moment, Skype actually knows about users only their location, gender and age. At this point the recent partnership of Skype with Facebook could be very useful as this social network has a lot of user information. Perhaps these giants will integrate their ad networks.


2011. Skype to add web-conferencing powered by GoToMeeting, not Webex



Recently Skype is intending to increase profits by expanding its business services. Skype already offers to business the VoIP service, IP-PBX integration and group video conferencing. And it would be very logical to add web-conferencing to this list, because many Skype partners (like Yuuguu, Yugma, Mikogo) are already earning on it. As known Skype almost 2 years ago added the screen-sharing feature. But it would be a shame to charge money for it. Firstly, it is the very basic implementation of screen-sharing without application selection, screen annotations, granting mouse control... Second, Skype's screen-sharing only works in one-to-one sessions and doesn't work simultaneously with video calling. So, finally, Skype has decided to pump-up and sell this feature and surprised everyone by announcing the partnership with Citrix GoToMeeting.


2011. Skype acquires Qik, makes group video calls paid



Skype actively starts this year. Just a few days after the launch of the iPhone version with video chat, the company has announced about two other important news. First of all, Skype has acquired (for $ 150 million) the competitor Qik - the mobile video chat and video mail service for Android smartphones. So, apparently, Skype for Android with video chat is coming soon. Secondly, Skype has introduced paid Premium subscription, the main feature of which is a group videoconferencing for up to 10 people. It costs $8.99/month or $4.99 for a day pass. This means that there is no more free group video calls. Group video conferencing is also available in the Skype business version and also costs $ 8.99/month. Note that only the user that initiates video call needs to pay. Mobile Skype users can also participate in group video conferencing, but without the video.


2011. Skype for iPhone adds video chat


This year we expect the great battle between Google and Skype for the mobile video chat market. Skype has made the first move - added the ability to make video calls to its mobile client Skype for iPhone. Unlike the iOS native video chat app Facetime (that works only on the iPhone 4), Skype video chat is available on iPhone 3G, iPad and iPod Touch. Video calls can be made over Wi-Fi and 3G. You can call from your smartphone to computer and vice versa. But the group video calls are not supported yet. Recall that in May 2010, Skype added video chat to Nokia N900. Besides, Skype's reps promised to release Android video-enabled app before the end of 2010, but (for unknown reasons) first video has been added to iPhone app first. For now video calls on the iPhone also provided by fring, Qik, Tango and Yahoo Messenger.


2010. Skype develops web-version



We all have become used to the fact that Skype - is  a program that is installed on computer. But perhaps, soon this fact will become a part of history. Different sources report that in the first quarter of the next year, Skype will release the web version. This is logical because Skype must respond somehow to the success of Google Voice, which works in the browser. True, like Google Voice, the web-version of Skype will use a proprietary browser plug-in, which still needs to be installed on your computer. Skype also needs the web-version for better integration in social networks. As we already reported, Skype plans to implement the second phase of Facebook integration and put "Call me" button on every Facebook user profile. Of course, it will be more convenient for users if they can make video calls via Facebook without launching another application.


2010. Skype 5.0 - Facebook integration, 10x videoconferencing



The new version Skype 5.0 for Windows is already available for download. It contains two super-features - Facebook integration and group videochat for 10 participants. Specifically for Facebook integration the Skype interface has been revamped - homepage with contact's status log and tabs has appeared. You can add Facebook as one of these tabs. It will display a list of all your Facebook-friends and you can click-to-call them via free videochat (if they have skype in Facebook contacts) or via SkypeOut. In addition, you can switch to the News Feed view and add posts and comments to Facebook right from your Skype. Unfortunately, Skype does not allow to communicate through Facebook-chat. What will be the result of combining half-billion Facebook user-base with the half-billion Skype user-base - we can only guess.


2010. Cisco's top manager to become Skype CEO



(Tony Bates, the new Skype CEO)


2010. Skype wants to be an Internet for unified communications



Recently we reported that Cisco may acquire Skype. However, judging by the recent announcements, this won't happen, and Skype has more ambitious plans than becoming Cisco's satellite. Today, Skype announced partnership with Cisco's main competitor - Avaya. We expected this a year ago, when Skype was sold to a group of investors led by Silver Lake - co-owners of Avaya. As a result of the partnership Skype Connect (formerly Skype for SIP), the service that allows PBX systems use the Skype's network, is already integrated in the Avaya solutions. I.e. Avaya will push it to its clients (perhaps for a certain fee). The next year the company plans to fully integrate Skype tools (video, conference, messenger, status) with its Unified Communications. However, this does not mean that Skype will turn against Cisco. Last year Skype and Cisco also implemented the same integration.


2010. Cisco may acquire Skype



Several more or less reliable sources reported that Cisco is going to buy Skype before the company complete the IPO process. If this is true, then Cisco will strenthen its leadership on the video and unified communications markets. This acquisition will also mean the synergy of corporate and consumer communications (which is beneficial for both companies and their customers). Moreover, the protocol of these communications - will be closed, which perfectly fits Cisco's strategy and will protect its monopoly. On the other hand, the current Skype co-owners (Silver Lake) are also co-owners of Avaya - the main Cisco's competitor on the unified communications market. And they are not interested in creating such a monster as Cisco Skype. But the supposed price tag - $ 5 billion - can be a very strong argument. Recall that two years ago Google was also going to buy Skype, but antitrust concerns may have persuaded them not to make an actual offer.


2010. Skype to create new products for business



Today Skype has filed an IPO registration statement and plans to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering. Along with the IPO application Skype has published some of the their business stats and plan of its further development. It turnes out that the company is doing quite well. During the first 6 months in 2010 Skype has earned $406 million, that is approximately 25% higher the previous year. Nevertheless, taking into account that the Skype has already more than 560 million registered users (it's more than Facebook), the company's management wants to earn at least ten times more. In addition, they are worried that almost 90% of Skipe's income comes from a single service - SkypeOut. Therefore, the major objective of attracting new investments is the development of new paid of business applications.


2010. New Skype for iPhone: background mode, free calls over 3G



Skype, probably in order to recover its reputation after the incident with Fring, decided to do some good thing. This thing is a new version of Skype for iPhone. First, the new client (which works on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS) supports multitasking mode, and thus is able to work in the background. Now, if you wait for an incoming Skype call, you do not need to keep the application open all the time. Now with an incoming call you’ll see a prompt, like the one above. You can also open other applications while calling over Skype. And most importantly, Skype decided to drop the idea to take an additional charge for calls over 3G (due to “some operators starting to move to tiered pricing models”). But, unfortunately, nobody in Skype mentioned when the video calls support are coming to Skype for iPhone.


2010. Microsoft adds Facebook and Windows Live Messenger to Outlook



Microsoft has updated its social Outlook plug-in - Outlook Social Connector, which can now can fetch the contact's data from Facebook and Windows Live Messenger (formerly the plug-in by default only supported LinkedIn, MySpace and Sharepoint). The Outlook Social Connector is intended to provide users with the actual information about a contact to better understand his mood and interests, which is very important when communicating with customers. The plug-in can display only publicly-available information from the profiles in social networks. Meanwhile it can only receive data but doesn't allow to post messages or statuses to the social networks. Microsoft says that soon the plug-in will be integrated with some local social networks.


2010. Skype blocks Fring



As we have stated, mobile video calls are becoming the next big thing, and it seems, that Fring - is too small company to compete with such giants as Skype, Google and Apple in this market. Last week, Fring enabled making video calls on 3G for iPhone users. This new feature has become so popular that within a few hours after launch, Fring servers couldn't stand to load and Fring decided to temporarily disable support for Fring-to-Skype calls. In a few days Fring expanded its capacity, but Skype support has not been resumed. Today Fring blog has reported that Skype has blocked these calls and threatened to sue Fring. Quote from the blog: "They are afraid of open mobile communication. Cowards".


2010. Skype as a Service is now a reality



As Skype CEO, Jonathan Christensen, promised last year, this world's most popular communication service is now available for developers as a "pure" service. Yesterday SkypeKit SDK was released. It allows any software and device to use the Skype network for instant messaging, status control, audio and video chat without the need to install the proprietary client. SkypeKit supports Windows, Linux and Mac. It includes the Skype's "VoIP heart" - Silk codec, which was opened for developers a year ago. However, the bad news is that SkypeKit can't be used by web-applications and mobile applications.


2010. It's official: Mobile Video Calls is the next big thing: Skype vs Facetime



A couple of weeks ago we suggested that Google is going to shift the video communications market (and win Skype), betting on mobile video calls. Today we can accurately say that very soon mobile video chat will become a huge market and the IT giants will fight for it. It's enough to watch the Facetime (iPhone 4 video chat) presentation to understand this. Since June 24 Apple will start selling iPhone 4 with the front camera and video over Wi-Fi in US, and it's obvious that to the and of this year millions of users will make video calls via the iPhone, and Apple will become the world's largest mobile video chat provider. But it will be only the short term win. Then Skype, Google and other players will join the fight.


2010. Skype 5.0 beta - Group Video Chat, end of Freemium



Today Skype has rolled out the new beta version for Windows which supports group video calls for up to 5 people. Skype 5.0 beta is now available for download and testing, but with the warning that it may contain a lot of bugs. Despite the fact that the first official screenshot of Skype group video chat shows a boy and a grandmother, it's likely that most of its users will be business employees. Because as soon as the testing finished, the group video chat will become a paid feature. At the same time, there already some free group video chat solutions (for friends and families) on the market, for example, TinyChat, TokBox, PalBee. On the small business market there are also some strong players with paid solutions - ooVoo, SightSpeed and HP SkyRoom. However, everything will depend on the cost and quality, offered by Skype.


2010. Skype comes to Symbian, Blackberry and Android. And to Verizon 3G network



As you know, recently the U.S. operator AT&T allowed VoIP applications on iPhone to work over its 3G network. But the 3G version of Skype for the iPhone has not appeared  yet. Today it became clear why. On the Mobile Congress in Barcelona Skype with Verizon presented there joint project. Specially for Verizon Skype developed mobile clients for some Blackberry smartphones, and Android smartphones by Motorola and HTC (still Skype worked only on Windows Mobile, iPhone and Nokia Maemo. Yesterday Symbian was added to this list). These devices (with preinstalled Skype) will let Verizon customers to make free Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G, chat and monitor the online status of their contacts. It also allows to make calls through SkypeOut - but only abroad (local US calls will be banned).


2009. Skype is now the most popular IM client



Recently all Skype news are about commercial wars and not about the new useful features. Nevertheless, its popularity grows day by day. According to  exo.performance.network, Skype is not only the most popular VoIP service, but also the most widely used IM client (at least on Windows PCs). After chipping away at Microsoft's lead for weeks, Skype finally


2009. Skype to buy Gizmo5 and deploy SIP/Jabber?



Skype, that is struggling now against Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, has  two backup plans. The first - is to rebuild the back end themselves, and the second - is to acquire some existing technology. It turn out, that Skype moves in both directions. The company is hiring VoIP experts (like crazy) for their internal project, named Gecko. But this project is probably not progressing as quickly as Skype needs it to. Today multiple sources announced that Skype is in negotiations to acquire its little rival Gizmo5, that uses open protocols SIP and Jabber in its p2p VoIP network. The price tag is said to be in the $50 million range.


2009. Skype as a Service



After the bad news for third-party developers, Skype exec Jonathan Christensen  hastened to make some remarks and give us a hope for a bright future. First, all plugins will work even after Extras close. Only users will not be able to pay for them from their Skype-accounts. But the developers will be still able to collect payment through other payment systems. Second, Skype is not going to kill the developer community and will soon introduce the next generation platform for them. And the most interesting part, is that talking to Michael Arrington (TechCrunch), Christensen noted that third-party developers will be able to create new solutions on the top of Skype services. What does it mean?


2009. Skype closes its developers ecosystem



It seems that the new Skype owners prefer a shock therapy. Today they decided to close Skype Extras - add-on applications created by third-party developers. Today there are few hundreds of these add-ons in the catalog, and among them Pamela (for call recording), Skylook (plug-in for Outlook), Yugma (web-conferencing) and others. For some developers it was a primary business model. The official reason is that not enough customers where using and paying for these extras, so it's not profitable for company to support this ecosystem.


2009. Skype+Asterisk are now ready for business



Skype and Digium (Asterisk developers) announced the official release of the Skype for Asterisk connector. This solutions allows to integrate Asterisk IP PBX or Asterisk based telephony systems with Skype network:


2006. Microsoft launches Windows Live Messenger

Microsoft has launched a public beta of Windows Live Messenger, an instant-messaging program that features international PC-to-telephone calls with video capability. The PC-to-phone feature makes local and international calls through a Verizon Internet telephony service that has been expanded to include Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands. Called Verizon Web Calling, the service previously covered only the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. Windows Live Messenger also builds a unified contact list that draws on information from other applications. Those who have broadband and a Webcam can use Messenger's video-calling capabilities to see one another while speaking. MSN Messenger, the parent application of Windows Live Messenger, offers PC-to-PC calling with video capability and PC-to-mobile instant messaging, but no landline-calling capabilities.


2005. Skype rolls out premium services

Skype has enhanced its popular Net phone application with two new premium features: SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail. Both have been available in limited tests but are now ready for widespread use for the Windows, Linux, Pocket PC and Mac OS X versions of Skype's free software, which has just reached the 100 million download mark and boasts 35 million registered users. SkypeIn allows users to buy up to three phone numbers in eight countries--Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. People can call them at those numbers from standard or mobile telephones. Skype Voicemail, as the name implies, records messages from callers.


2003. MSN Messenger blocks Trillian

Users of Microsoft's free Web-based MSN Messenger and its Windows XP-based Windows Messenger will need to upgrade their software to a newer version or be shut out of the service, the software giant said Wednesday. MSN Messenger users will need to upgrade to version 5.0 of higher; Windows Messengers customers will need to upgrade to version 4.7.2009 or higher; and consumers with MSN Messenger for Mac OS X will have to use version 3.5 or higher. The last MSN Messenger to be released was version 6. According to Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall, "Security issues that could be posed (on older versions) require us to force an upgrade." He declined to detail the security issue, saying disclosure would "put customers at undue risk."