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Microsoft’s redesign of Skype is really upsetting almost everyone

MICROSOFT IS FACING a loud backlash from users of its Skype messaging service which has been redesigned to look like a series of stills from Yellow Submarine covered in icing sugar.

Users have complained that not only does it look like Willy Wonka’s factory in a snowdrift, but a lot of key features on the Android and iOS versions, which have been the first to roll out, have disappeared.

Most notably, it’s now very difficult to see who is online and who isn’t but there are lots of other gripes. We spotted that you can no longer share from the context menu in Android, you need to copy and paste, which gets very old, very fast, especially as other services integrate perfectly.

This story was picked up on Reddit (we love it when that happens) and here are some of the other things that people hate, and… well, that’s it, about the new Skype. There’s no word on when exactly this garish nonsense will be coming to desktop, but as Skype for Windows isn’t exactly working brilliantly as it is, let’s hope it’s not for a while.

JoseJimeniz has a list of faults:

“I also noticed some features missing:

  • no longer works with bluetooth headset
  • no longer advertises any “sharing” intents (i.e. cannot share anything using Skype)
  • no longer supports video while outside Skype
  • can no longer tap anywhere on the screen, or use the volume buttons, to take a picture
  • can no longer make your own video full screen

On the upside, it does have some nice new features: (TODO: think of anything i like about it),” adding: “It’s the Windows 8/8.1/10 of Skype – There’s nothing in this new version I want; and everything I don’t”

Reddit user albeva adds: “Forget re-design – new version of Skype just doesn’t work. For me every single call fails. Can I roll back to previous version?”

While TrunksTheMighty is even harsher: “I downgraded it like immediately after seeing the changes. If they ever force an update I’m gonna delete my account.” 

The key here is the delineation between Skype as a business tool and Skype as a Snapchat clone. There is a separate Skype for Business, which will retain the old look, but it comes as part of Microsoft Office 365 Professional which (surprise, surprise) costs extra.

With so much competition from Snapchat, Messenger, WhatsApp and so on, it’s quite logical that Microsoft would want something a little bit more groovy. But as we’ve learned from the rather lacklustre performance of Google’s Allo and Duo, what they don’t want is their traditional apps being replaced by “for the kids, yo” versions. Sometimes, chatters just want to chat. µ

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