Windows 11 will hammer final nail into Skype coffin

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Analysis of the leaked build of Windows 11, which is expected to be announced formally later this week, has revealed the new operating system will change more than just the interface and taskbar. 

Assuming the leak is representative of the final version, it appears video conferencing service Skype has been struck from the list of software that comes pre-installed with Windows.

Gone too is the Meet Now feature that lets users launch into Skype meetings directly from the desktop, without having to sign-in or open the client. The tool was rolled out last year to help users connect with friends and family during the pandemic, but its omission from Windows 11 suggests uptake was limited.

The Skype app will still be available for Windows 11 via the Microsoft Store, but the decision to cut it from the roster of pre-loaded software speaks volumes about the trajectory of the service.

Skype for Business, we hardly knew ye

Skype was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion, but the platform has since lost its way, coming under heavy criticism for the decision to prioritize new features over call quality.

During the pandemic, Skype has played second fiddle to Microsoft’s new flagship collaboration platform, Teams. But the writing has been on the wall for a number of years now.

In the summer of 2019, Microsoft announced it would retire Skype for Business Online by July 31 2021. The consumer-focused service will still be available, but business customers (with the exception of on-premises Skype for Business customers) will be forced to migrate to Teams.

Microsoft has gone out of its way to encourage businesses to make the switch sooner rather than later, rolling out new functionality and performance improvements exclusive to Teams. The company has also built out an extensive framework to guide companies making the transition, and is also hosting free upgrade planning workshops.

The decision to remove the Skype install from Windows 11 is the logical next step in this process, giving customers one less reason to use Skype over Teams.

It’s also expected that Microsoft will replace the Skype Meet Now feature with a similar Teams-focused tool in Windows 11, under the name Meet and Chat. This feature will allow users to access Teams channels and video meetings from a button in the taskbar.

Via Windows Latest

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.