Skype, Interrupted

Skype, was once a beloved product, one that I loved using every day. It was a product I wrote about long before it was trendy. I sent the team feedback. Like all tiny apps that are good at what they do, it became popular and grew really fast. It was sold to eBay, and then re-sold to Microsoft. And that’s when the magic disappeared. Through series of mergers and managers, Skype became an exact opposite of what I loved about it — independent outsider which was great at — chat, messaging and phone calls. It had just enough features, and its desktop client was minimal in its perfection.  Now, as I tweeted in the past, it is “a turd of the highest quality.”

Bloomberg took a closer look at the Skype and its decline. Microsoft argued that the “criticism is overblown and reflects, in part, people’s grumpiness with software updates.” They say that now the focus is the corporate market. But that doesn’t deny the fact that it is a terrible interface, inhuman and difficult to use. It lacks any imagination — a fact that is repeatedly reinforced on social media every time you bring up Skype and its user experience.  “It is like Tim Tebow trying to be a baseball player,” I told Bloomberg reporters. “The product is so confusing, kludgey and unusable.”

I merely voice what others are sensing. As a lifelong user of the service, I have banished it myself and get angry at people who bring me back to the service. I use Zoom, Facetime, Telegram, Google Hangouts and Slack — anything but Skype. And it is astonishing because at one time Skype was amongst the top most downloaded apps on the AppStore.

Before you read the whole story — highly recommended — I leave you with the money paragraph in the story.

The company hasn’t updated the number of Skype users since 2016, when it put the total at 300 million. Some analysts suspect the numbers are flat at best, and two former employees describe a general sense of panic that they’re actually falling. The ex-Microsofters, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential statistics, say that as late as 2017 they never heard a figure higher than 300 million discussed internally.

A letter from Om

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