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Microsoft updates its Skype clients for Windows 10

Microsoft is trying to bring feature parity to its Skype for Windows 10 clients and is now making its former Skype UWP app an Electron app in the process.
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is updating its Skype clients across various operating systems to version 8.61. It is replacing the React Native Skype for Windows 10 client with an Electron version, and adding a few new features to it.

"Starting in June 2020, Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop are "becoming one" in the name of providing a consistent experience, says Microsoft's support page. But that doesn't mean there will be just one Skype client app for Windows 10. Microsoft is still continuing to make both versions of Skype for Windows 10 -- the Store app and the Desktop app -- available, with the Desktop version being downloadable from Skype.com.

As first noted by Neowin.net, the Skype for Windows 10 client is going from version 14 to 15 as of today, June 23. As indicated on a support page, the new client is getting a few new features, include support for nine videos in a video call. The other new features include:

  • Updated close options so you can quit Skype or stop it from starting automatically
  • Improved Tray icon, informing you about new messages and presence status
  • Share files directly from your File Explorer
  • Background Replacement
  • Moderated Chats
  • Meet Now Improvements
  • Improved Call Controls

Microsoft also dropped support for a couple of features that were in version 14, specifically integration with the Share Charm and synchronization with Outlook contacts. The support page says these features "are not yet supported" on Skype for Windows 10.

Microsoft this week started testing consumer-focused features for the mobile versions of its Teams group-collaboration platform. But no one from Microsoft has said publicly that the company's plan is to replace Skype consumer with Teams. For now, officials maintain there is a separate need and place for a group chat/call app like Skype vs. a full collaboration system like Teams.

Skype users will be auto-upgraded to the newest release, whichever platform they're running on and variant they're using.

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