Microsoft makes advances in fixing Skype chat

Microsoft makes advances in fixing Skype chat

Summary: Microsoft offers a progress report on its work to fix some of the annoyances in Skype instant-messaging/chat.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I am not a fan of Skype as an instant-messaging/chat client.


I'm not the only one (by far) who feels this way. And the folks on the Skype team know there are a lot of us former Windows Live Messenger users who are none too happy that Microsoft forced us off the service last year before Skype IM was really cooked.

The Skype team committed to fix the shortcomings in Skype overall, and Skype IM in particular. On February 13, the team provided a progress report on how things are going on that front.

"We know that as users have started using Skype on multiple devices, they’ve had difficulty keeping conversations in sync, or they’ve missed messages and seen 'read' messages on one device that are still marked as 'unread' on another. We’ve been working hard to solve these issues while adding other experiences to make an improved Skype chat," according to a February 13 post on the Skype Big Blog.

Microsoft has been rolling out updates to its various Skype clients over recent weeks that are designed to help alleviate these syncing issues, officials said. Skype also has added push notifications so users will know when they have new chat messages, officials said.

But it won't be until some time "in the coming months" that Skype users will only receive notifications on the devices they are actively using, and additional notifications won't pile up on other devices. Also some time in the coming months, users' favorites contact list will be able to roam and sync across their Skype-enabled devices.

The team is continuing to work on overall performance, battery life, startup time and resume time improvements, according to the post.

"It’s now faster to return to the app when it’s not running in the foreground as well as faster to start up, allowing you to chat all day every day without the fear of unwanted battery drain," officials said.

Topics: Unified Comms, Android, iOS, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Chat's not the only problem

    I still find the metro Skype app useless for a variety of reasons. For example: I have home and business Skype accounts, one where I log in with my Microsoft Account and one with a regular Skype login. I can't use the non-MS Account one in the metro app at all, but even if I got a second Microsoft Account, there's no way to log into both accounts at the same time in the metro app.

    I'm not sure how big a deal this is from my own perspective, since I like the desktop app just fine. However, if Microsoft wants people to switch to the metro app, they're going to have to work toward feature parity with the desktop app that mostly meets all needs.

    FWIW, when I'm logged into Skype from two devices, the chat now works exactly as expected. The conversation syncs to both devices with no strange or unwelcome side effects, and it's great if you want to save conversations on your primary PC that you had on some other device.
    • Yep

      Couldn't agree more. Skype metro app is absolutely awfull.
    • Running a second account on Skype for Windows Desktop

      You're right there is no way to access a second account on the Skype "Metro" app - and it is missing some features on the Desktop version. Also it's not as intuitive as Skype for Windows Desktop. There is a way to have two accounts running on the Desktop Windows - Run "C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe" /secondary and log into the second account. I keep a separate desktop icon for my second account. Full disclosure: I use Start8 and launch directly into Windows Desktop; I rarely use the Metro/Modern UI.
    • Voice messages & Ring on all speakers

      When I last checked these options were not available in Mod UI & what makes Skype useless on WinDOS is the complete lack of a reliable option to ring on the desktop speakers then converse using a wired, wireless or Bluetooth headset. Using desktop Skype, if you choose to ring using the desktop speakers it may or may not hold to the next reboot and will then return to default the ringing to your headset. So you'll never hear another hear in-coming. If you someone leaves you a msg you haven't previously known about it on Mod UI although I have a feeling that the latest update may no allow you to play the msg. Still there's no way to delete msgs once you've listened to them.

      I solved the problem by buying a Nexus 7. Skype works pretty well on that. Enough said really. It seems that Microsoft have given up on the own OS. &BTW the battery drain using WinPhone Skype was so bad I had to uninstall it. Did Steve Ballmer have a hand in hiring the Microsoft Skype Team?
  • Still not able to exit?

    I'd like to see an option to close Skype on my phone without having to force quit it
    • Closing Skype on iOS 7

      On iOS 7 simply double push the Home button, slide along to Skype and swipe upwards to close. At least iOS7 provides a easier way to do this than what was required on earlier versions. On the other hand once you do this you can no longer receive Skype calls or chat notifications. (On the other hand once you log in again; Skype will update your chat conversations for up to the previous 30 days.)
  • I'd recommend....

    A multi-billion dollar advertising programme informing users when they have fixed ALL problems that they have done so.
    That or just reinstate messenger. Which is cheaper and costs less public **argghh***

    Skype transition has been a disaster, mine does not work still.
    • Suggestion

      As nice as it would be if Skype just worked, I suggest going to their forums and seeking help with whatever isn't working as expected. One of the strong points of Skype is that they've got a great community of users who can usually give you the fix for pretty much anything - they've saved me a few times.
      • I've been many times

        Your suggestion would be great if it wasn't "staffed" by amateurs who have a basic grasp of English and don't redirect people to irrelevant posts constantly. The amount of times I've been on to get a fix for a simple problem and seen others arguing with the helpers (after 15+ pages sometimes) just makes me despair.

        All I want is for MS to fix my contact list. It's around 1500 people long and the only solution appears to be to add each one again individually. This means copying the address, adding the contact and... next. I really don't 8-10 hours to do this for each one. I've done the 200 most important but the ball is over to MS's court on this. I did not choose to upgrade and when I needed support only volunteers with the same product knowledge as me were available.
        • Contact list

          Whenever you log into Skype on another device it should bring up your Skype Contacts that you have set up. However, it will not include any contacts you have saved locally, such as PSTN phone numbers. The Contact must include Home/Work/Mobile numbers in her/his Skype profile in order for those numbers to come up on other devices. Many users do not include those numbers on their Skype profile for privacy and security reasons.

          I use Skype on Windows Desktop, Macbook, iPhone, iPad Air, Android tablet and BlackBerry - all my contacts come up once I log in - and I have over 600 Skype Contacts. As mentioned in the article Favorites at the moment are not available across devices and have to be added for each device; however, Skype is working on that issue.
  • Interestingly, Lync has some issues along these lines as well

    I have Lync on Windows Phone, a tablet (Samsung Win8.1), and my desktop (both the Lync app from the store and the desktop version). I'll receive a message on only one device, or maybe two, or maybe three, but not all devices receive the message and only the one I type responses into get my responses. So then every conversation is mixed up. I was hoping it would work more like Facebook messages, where I at least get every message in one location (even if not all the third-party clients don't).

    They really need to work out how the multiple clients will display/respond to messages. I removed the Lync app from my desktop, as it isn't as featured as the desktop client. Since Skype hasn't been so helpful in general, I only have the store app installed.
  • integration?

    Why is Skype not more integrated in Win8 and WP? It should be baked in seamlessly and not feel like another app.
  • Stop Whinging - Skype is Great!

    I am a long time heavy Skype user for business. I use instant messaging to communicate with my own development team all day every day. I use Skype voice calls every day and particularly use Skype to landline calls when I am travelling on business overseas.

    I have Skype on multiple devices.

    My biggest fear when Microsoft bought Skype was they would make a mess. In fact the product has definitely improved. Syncing Skype between say my notebook and iphone in pre MS days was always problematic.

    Recently over one day I ran my Skype account backward and forward between my Dell win7 notebook, my Samsung Note 3 and the Win7 on our video editing suite. An ongoing conversation with a developer working from home. The sync was perfect!

    So stop whinging and encourage Microsoft to make a visionary product even better!
    • What?

      As someone who uses Skype constantly for business, I can tell you that:

      1) It has never once synced a single message properly across my three Win7 systems, the web-client, and Android.

      2) I'm frequently getting messages that are more than 48 hours old.

      3) When attempting to have a conversation with someone migrated from Messenger, I'm lucky if they receive a message at all. If they DO get a message, their response back shows up under an entirely different user.

      4) Once a day, I have to restart the client on each of my Win7 systems, otherwise I won't be able to send or receive messages - but the only notification I get about this is when someone CALLS ME to ask why I haven't been responding to Skype messages.
      • Additionally...

        I nearly forgot:

        5) The Skype app for Android frequently loses connection, and the only way to re-establish a connection is to drop to a terminal and kill all of the Skype processes.
    • I agree.

      In general I agree with ians318. I have used Skype for over 9 nine years, have followed its evolution into calling landlines/mobiles, offering video with constantly improving resolution and improving the audio quality to the point where some users now offer music lessons over Skype (it's an audio bandwidth issue that the legacy phone network can't duplicate). One major development over the past six months has been the evolution of Skype on mobile devices. You can now get excellent video resolution along with their excellent audio quality.

      Unabashed promotion: I wrote a book that's on Amazon; it's almost two years old but the basic concepts still apply.
  • Strange

    There was NOTHING WRONG
  • Strange

    There was NOTHING WRONG with Skype before Microsoft acquired it.

      Oh wait, you're serious.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Never noticed a problem with Skype chat either fact I've seen an integration of it into Microsoft's online services, which is welcome. When I'm logged into any Microsoft services in the browser window (mail, skydrive, etc) people see me as online for chat (unless I turn it off) and messages pop up on the right. It's very handy.