Before the current coronavirus crisis, Skype appeared to be one of Microsoft’s numerous wasted investments. Purchased in October 2011 for $8.5 billion, the product has failed to keep up with messaging rivals and suffered from numerous unwelcome changes in direction.
Microsoft’s solution was to integrate Skype for business’s functionality into Microsoft Teams, which saw a meteoric rise on the demand for a business-focussed video conferencing solution.
You could be forgiven for thinking Skype is on its way out, especially with Teams for Life coming to address the consumer market, but Microsoft has denied this is the case.
“We’re continuing to invest in Skype,” Jeff Teper, CVP for Microsoft 365, told VentureBeat. “It’s growing through all this. You’ll see some new features. You’ll see Skype and Teams interoperate. As Teams lands with consumers and does more things, I think people will pick Teams. But we’re not going to be heavy-handed about this. People love Skype. And so, we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves here.”
Microsoft recently revealed that Skype also benefitted from the COVID-19 crisis, with Skype passing 40 million daily active users, up 70% month over month, while Skype to Skype calling minutes was up 220%.
Microsoft said their messaging strategy has space for more than one app, and Microsoft plans to continue adding features to Skype.
“Facebook, for example, has multiple tools with Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp,” Teper noted. “Those all continue to grow. They did work to interoperate with them. They’re not forcing a migration from one of their consumer tools to another. That’s how I look at our playbook, at least in the near term. Teams has a very different flavor to it than Skype. It does overlap in the same need, just like Messenger and WhatsApp do from Facebook. And so, we’ll have them interoperate, but we’re going to continue to show love to the Skype customer base.”
Google is similarly keeping its own stable of messaging apps, but unlike Microsoft and Facebook, do not plan to make them interoperate, with Javier Soltero saying: “We believe people make choices around the products that they use for specific purposes.”
Do our readers think it is worth keeping Skype around as a separate product, or should Microsoft strike while the iron is hot and move everyone to Teams? Let us know below.
Thanks, Seth for the tip.