A farewell to Skype

voip-skype-xs2008ca-1Don’t panic! Skype’s not going away. But it is transitioning to a new future.

Where once it was based around a peer to peer architecture, for various reasons – explained in this article on Ars Technica – that’s not entirely practical in future.

When it first appeared, one of the great benefits of Skype was that almost anyone could get it to work, which was a lot more than could be said for much of the standards-based VoIP technology of the time.

It was simple to use, and calling people with a straightforward user name made things great for beginners, and the appeal of free calling made it very popular indeed.

Plenty of manufacturers came up with Skype-based devices – amongst the things I have in my pile of old tech here are mobile gateways, and a dedicated Skype desk phone.

TV makers like Panasonic built Skype into their sets, and sold add-on cameras, talking about how families could use these to keep in touch with people – free video calls across the world.

A great idea. And now, none of it’s going to work any more. In fact, since I’ve not updated my Mac, I won’t even be able to use Skype on that, either.

Just as we’ve seen with other functionality on smart TVs, Skype is soon going to be another option on the menu that worked for a few years after you bought it, and now doesn’t do anything at all.

Skype on a Panasonic TV - but not for much longer
Skype on a Panasonic TV – but not for much longer

The desk phone I have will soon be useless. I’d have more luck, in fact, with my even older ISDN phones. At least they were built to an open standard, and I can still plug them into a Fritzbox and link them to the rest of the phone system.

Those old Skype phones, cameras, TVs, and anything else you bought with it embedded? Tough luck. Microsoft’s not interested in them anymore.

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