Microsoft's Skype for Windows 8 to launch October 26

Microsoft's Skype for Windows 8 to launch October 26

Summary: Microsoft's final version of its Windows Store/Metro-style version of Skype is due out October 26.

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After screen-shot tease after screen-shot tease, it was just a matter of when, not "if," Microsoft would release a version of Skype customized for Windows 8. And today, October 22, is the day when Microsoft is lifting the curtain on the new client due October 26.

newskype

Skype for Windows 8 will be in the Windows Store on October 26, the day Windows 8 and its ARM-based sibling, Windows RT, are generally available. Skype for Windows 8 also will be preinstalled on "the top 12 Windows OEMs' machines," Skype officials said. It won't be preinstalled on Surface RT devices; instead, it will be in the Windows Store for Surface RT because Skype didn't quite make the internal deadline cut-off for preinstallation. (Just in case there's any doubt or confusion, this new Skype app will run on both Windows 8 and Windows RT.)

Skype for Windows 8 was re-architected from the ground up, said Derek Snyder, head of Mobile Marketing at Skype. (Before joining Skype, Snyder was Executive Communications Manager & Technical Advisor for Windows Phone.) Remember those stories about Skype moving away from a pure peer-to-peer (P2P) model, to more of a hybrid model? That's exactly what's happened.

On the back-end, in the months after Microsoft's acquisition of Skype was finalized, the pair have been moving Skype to use the Windows Messenger infrastructure. Storage of pictures, video and other Skype content is now happening on Windows Azure.

In the longer term, Skype most likely will replace Messenger some day. There's no public timetable as to when that will happen, but Skype recently began testing new Windows and Mac beta releases that allow users to sign in using their Windows Live ID (Microsoft Account) so they can send and receive instant messages and see presence information from those using Messenger.

On the front end, the user interface in Skype for Winows 8 has been overhauled so it has a true Metro/tiled look and feel. (The Skype team is using "Modern" to refer to this look, though that is not the official Microsoft replacement term for the Metro UI.) The Windows 8 version of Skype is less Facebook-centric, Snyder said, though Facebook integration is still a feature.

Skype for Windows 8 takes advantage of all the usual Windows 8 features, such "snapping" so Skype can run side-by-side with another app; integrating with Bing allowing image searching and association inside Skype; and running in the background in a low-power-consumption but always-on mode.

Other interesting tidbits about where Skype is going with Windows 8:

  • Skype plans to continue to offer users a multiplatform experience. Expect more enhancements on platforms other than Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 to continue.
  • There's still no public timetable as to when Skype will be fully integrated and federated with Lync. But it's coming. "But expect to see more mobile-specific, mobile-first from us, going forward," said Snyder.
  • Skype is planning to provide lots of tips and how-to content to help users figure out how to take advantage of Windows 8-specific features with Skype. These will range from things like "what are toasts?" to "how to put Skype on your lock screen."
  • Skype is aiming to get users to leave Skype running on their machines all day and use chat as the first place they go when they sign in.

There's a video over on Skype's "The Big Blog" site showing Skype for Windows 8 in action.

Topics: Networking, Microsoft, Tablets, Unified Comms, PCs, Windows

About

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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11 comments
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  • a day will come...

    when all forms of communications will go via IP...
    sreesiv
    • Already here

      So welcome 4G where all communications already go as IP packets....
      Fri13
  • Microsoft's Skype for Windows 8 to launch October 26

    Awesome, same day I will be using the new Microsoft Windows 8. Skype may be the first app I download. I will be able to video chat with friends and family in a complete Microsoft environment and because of that things will integrate nicely.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Loverock Davidson- just another open portal for more Malware to come in

      Are you going to have to compile it as you usually do or are you going to pay a friend to do that for you? The high cost of using anything Windows should be getting to you by now. But a guy like yourself with all your means dosen't seem to mind spending hundreds of dollars every years to keep your Windows box up to date.
      Over and Out
  • Need more of this

    critical app in Win RT. Let summaries what we have now.
    1) document creattion : Office RT
    2) email client - Mail/Calendar
    3) social network- People . perhaps a native Facebook is good.
    4) communication - skype
    5) photo editing, there are many but need adobe
    6) game- angry bird , yea not everyone play but it is the most popular game in the world, angry bird star wars is coming.
    voidvoice
    • Why

      And why to wait anything from Microsoft when you can have Android or iOS with those with better range of hardware and better compatibility with rest of the world, without even forcing to use skype, facebook or any Apple or Google services?

      Why it is so awesome to be Microsoft slave?
      Fri13
      • Windows 8 is trully about content creation

        It has nothing to do with being a slave, it has to do with the best tool for the job. Lets see what windows 8 has that the others do not:

        1) Native pen input with palm rejection to write notes in or draw
        2) Adobe full suite
        3) Full Microsoft Office with all the productivity features

        Until the others have these abilities they are not good choices for many people. Now, when it comes to the Windows 8 phone - at least for me not a good choice.
        Djblois
  • forgot this

    7) how to root the device and run Linux/Android on it.
    LlNUX Geek
  • Windows 8 ?

    So, are we expecting applicatios to use the "for Windows 8", when they actually mean "Windows 8 and Windows RT"?
    Wouldn't "for Windows App Store" be more accurate?
    joeyw72
  • Classic

    Classic case of "don't talk about features, talk about benefits" that they tell *every* Marketing 101 student. "Always on, running in the background, running side by side" and so on don't tell me what benefits I'll actually gain from this. Free group video-chat? Some type of "hangout" like feature that allows for people to start up a chat room and leave it on for anyone to join? Public chat rooms like Zoom.us? Web-based HTML5 option?

    Maybe Skype8 (or whatever it's called) will revolutionize video chat like the original Skype did, but so far all I'm seeing is changing the back-end while keeping the user-experience almost identical. Is that the case?
    kumicho
  • What Is The Point Of Skype, Exactly?

    Just another way for Microsoft to lose money.
    ldo17