Skype retires older apps for Windows and more as it pushes new features

The newest version of the Skype app takes a big hat-tip from social media platforms like Snapchat and Facebook’s Messenger with its newest features, adding a Stories-like feature called Highlights, a big selection of bots to add into chats and a longer plan to upgrade group conversations with more features. Now, as part of the effort to get people to use the new Skype more, the company is also doubling down on something else: Skype is trying to get users off of older versions of Skype.

As part of that push, the Microsoft-owned company has sent out messages to users this week noting that it will be retiring a host of older iterations on July 1. Those who are still using them after that day will likely no longer be able to sign on.

We at TechCrunch have had two versions of the notes, one listing apps for Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, Messaging app for Windows 10 Mobile, Windows RT and TV; and one more generic note. You can read them in full at the bottom of this post.

We’ve asked, and a spokesperson has supplied us with the full list of apps that have been and are getting axed, as well as platforms being affected — 14 in all, including several of Skype’s efforts to build apps with carriers and its own phones; its TV app; older versions of Windows (including Windows Phone), Android, BlackBerry, Mac and iOS:

  • Android 4.0.2 and lower
  • BlackBerry OS 7.1 and lower
  • iOS 7 and lower
  • Linux (Linux users must upgrade to Skype for Linux Beta)
  • Mac OS X 10.8 and lower
  • Symbian OS
  • Skype mobile for Verizon
  • Skype on 3
  • Skype on Telkomsel
  • Skype on TV
  • Skype phones: All Skype phones
    Note: Skype phones may still be available to purchase through third-party retailers, but are no longer supported
  • Windows 10 task-based app
  • Windows Phone 8.1 and lower
  • Windows RT

Note that this is something of a comprehensive list; some of these apps were discontinued quite a while ago, others a little more recently. However, it appears that if you had a device with one of these older apps installed, it would still work. Now, that no longer will be the case, it seems.

“Because we want everyone to experience the best Skype has to offer, it’s sometimes necessary to retire older versions of Skype, and Skype-enabled devices,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “Unsupported Skype-enabled devices and platforms may experience problems with calls and chats, lost or dropped calls and instant messages, or could stop working completely.”

Skype, founded back in 2003, was a trailblazer for a subsequently huge onslaught of mobile apps that let people message and phone each other on mobile phones, bypassing carrier networks and their costly charges. Eventually, it was also one of the first of the disruptors that carriers started to work with, developing co-marketing plans and bundles to pick up more mobile subscriptions.

But the growing field of competition from the likes of WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, WeChat, Snapchat, Kik and more has produced an ever-crowded market. Skype’s features were leapfrogged, and the platform itself also became a hotbed for spam and contacts you might prefer not to have. So while Skype has a long and popular legacy, many have moved on from using it as their default messaging and phoning app of choice.

What we do know is that Skype is regularly one of the most popular free apps on iOS and Android, and Skype itself tells us there have been 2 trillion minutes of free Skype video calls since 2006, with 3 billion minutes of calls being made each day, and total Skype downloads now at over 1 billion.

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