Microsoft might be working on a new cross-platform Skype client

Microsoft seems to have big things planned for Skype. A few days ago Microsoft decided to close the London offices of Skype; now it seems that was only the beginning of what’s to come.

Skype Preview

When the news broke out about Skype’s London office closure, we suspected it was because Microsoft wanted to consolidate the Skype development to Redmond – this speculation was backed by a whole bunch of statements by ex-employees.

Now, ArsTechnica reports via sources within Microsoft; these speculations might not have been far-fetched. It appears, Microsoft is working on a brand new Skype client built from the ground up – and the development is concentrated at the Redmond offices. Microsoft has, therefore, put the current Skype builds on ‘maintenance’ mode, making a large part of the Skype workforce redundant.

At this moment, Skype maintains around 9 separate main clients built for different platforms – the new Skype client is intended to replace this, and be the one client to rule them all.

The new client even comes with a cringeworthy code-name: “Skype for Life”. Apparently, it will cover these platforms:

  • Windows
  • Xbox
  • HoloLens
  • Windows Phone / Windows 10 Mobile
  • iOS
  • Android
  • macOS
  • Linux

That’s a whole lot of platforms to target; though what’s surprising is the fact that it goes beyond Microsoft platforms as well, which means the client would either be based on a cross-platform framework, or built on top of web technologies. This might turn out to become an interesting challenge for Microsoft.

The future

The new client will arrive in the wake of some recent rumors and developments regarding future Skype products. For example, Skype Teams – Microsoft’s slack competitor – showed up a few weeks ago and is also being developed in Redmond – most likely with close coordination of the team working on this client.

Let’s keep in mind, though – these are all unconfirmed rumours coming out of a source via ArsTechnica, so we don’t know for sure if Microsoft does have these ambitious plans or not.

Microsoft acquired Skype back in 2011, but never quite ‘assimilated’ the company into its larger self. It seems Microsoft has now grown tired of the slow progress at Skype and wants to be at the helm of its development. We can only hope this new client doesn’t turn out as this infamous XKCD comic.

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