As Windows Phone users, Microsoft has been forcing Skype upon me in bits and pieces. It started slowly in Windows Phone 8 with Skype now being integrated into the people hub, then it extended with Skype being added to the call screen in Windows Phone 8.1.
You could easily make Skype calls and text messages from the people hub, and that was pretty much it. While I used the word”forcing” in the first line of the article, I don’t necessarily mean it in a negative way. Microsoft seems to think Skype is an important part of the Windows and Windows Phone experience, and indeed it advertises it accordingly on all Windows Phone promo material and everything.
Unlike Groove music, Skype for Windows Phone isn’t terrible it does exactly what it is meant to, and it has a few extra features as well. The issue with Skype is that…it feels tacked on and “forced”.
Don’t believe me? Check out the Skype websites for Skype, Group Me, Skype Wifi (which has a linux app but no Windows Phone app(!) and look at the hero images, the presentation of the apps and everything around it.
Like other third party developers, it seems like Skype is genuinely apathetic towards Windows Phone. Now remember that Microsoft wants this service to be integrated in Windows 10 as a core part of the OS. Listen to the Skype team promise their integration in January and deliver nothing concrete in 8 months. Skype messaging beta is cool and all, but if it took 8 months to make that(they had to take time off adding cool things to the Android and iOS apps poor them), then the final product would simply be polish on a relative turd (compared to what the service offers on iOS and Android). While this piece is sorta kinda similar to the Groove Music post I made earlier, there is a difference between both teams though not entirely good. The Groove team seems to want to make a good product but they just can’t for whatever reasons, the Skype team just doesn’t seem to care.
The most intriguing part about this is that the people who have Skype preinstalled on their Microsoft phones and would want to use it the most, are the ones being given the worst experience while the Skype team blog about Mojis for Android and iOS or whatever new thing they aren’t adding to the Windows Phone app this year – oh sorry, “delightful experience coming soon~”.
If Microsoft wants to push Skype on Windows Phone users, they had better make it worthwhile, or they might be better served throwing money at Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp to improve their apps, otherwise Skype just becomes one of those apps that I have to delete on first boot (along with podcasts).
Here’s the funny thing about Microsoft’s Skype experience, its not unique to Skype. There are a scant few Microsoft apps that are exclusive to Windows Phone, an even smaller number that debuted there, and very very few exclusive useful ones.
To the outside observer, it would appear that Microsoft does not care about Windows on Phones and that if they want a top-notch Microsoft experience they should stay away.
A year ago I wrote this
The mantra remains for users as always. Wait for it. Something big will be coming. Wait. Wait. Wait. Soon. Mango, Apollo, Blue, Threshold. When will Microsoft go all in?
Forget marketshare, imagine Apple releasing Facetime for Android and Windows because it was ready and they had more marketshare. Imagine iTunes for Mac going to crap because there are more Windows users anyway.
If Microsoft can treat its own platform like crap and feed them with buggy apps, what impression does this give devs? That Windows Phone users don’t care about app quality?
Clearly Instagram doesn’t care that its a Beta, if we can endure Lumia Storyteller Beta and Xbox Beta Music, why should they give a damn?
I find it quite sad that I could repeat the same article here essentially, and nothing has changed. Instagram is still a Beta, Xbox Beta Music is now Groove Alpha Music and Lumia Storyteller has been killed off. Even Satya’s words of making consumers “love Windows” and referencing “Windows fans” over and over ring hollow when he’s chopping apps with one hand and firing people with the other.
From an objective analysis of the situation, it does look bad from a Microsoft and Windows Phone angle. However, Microsoft is once again promising something cool for Windows Phone users on October 6th along with Windows 10 mobile. After that, we have the rumoured metal Intel Windows Phone and Windows Redstone to look forward to. The future is interesting and maybe even a little exciting. However, if Microsoft doesn’t make me eat my words of negativity, or if I can simply just write this along with a Groove Music still sucks article one year from now, then we can safely conclude that Microsoft has not lost its ability to shoot itself in the foot.