After Making Skype Convoluted and Difficult To Use, Microsoft is Now Rolling Out Features To Restore Simplicity

After Making Skype Convoluted and Difficult To Use, Microsoft is Now Rolling Out Features To Restore Simplicity

From a report: Microsoft just announced a number of changes the company is rolling out to restore Skype’s simplicity and familiarity. When the company introduced the modern Skype, it introduced radical changes that turned the app into an actual, modern app. But of course, that didn’t really work too well with some of Skype’s classic users. Although Microsoft has made numerous changes to the modern Skype to work better for all users, there were still a bunch of things in the app that no one really needed. And one of that was Highlights — it was a complete clone of Snapchat where you could post pictures/videos that last for a limited time. Unlike other Snapchat clones like Instagram Stories, no one actually used Skype Highlights. […] The navigation has been drastically improved, now only consisting of Chats, Calls, and Contacts — the three core parts of Skype. Along with Highlights, Microsoft’s also removed the Capture button which opened the Skype camera — another useless feature that was already accessible from within chats.

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Microsoft Turned Customers Against the Skype Brand

Microsoft Turned Customers Against the Skype Brand

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Since acquiring Skype from private equity investors, Microsoft has refocused the online calling service on the corporate market, a change that has made Skype less intuitive and harder to use, prompting many Skypers to defect to similar services operated by Apple, Google, Facebook and Snap. The company hasn’t updated the number of Skype users since 2016, when it put the total at 300 million. Some analysts suspect the numbers are flat at best, and two former employees describe a general sense of panic that they’re actually falling. The ex-Microsofters, who requested anonymity to discuss confidential statistics, say that as late as 2017 they never heard a figure higher than 300 million discussed internally.

Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has repeatedly said he wants the company’s products to be widely used and loved. By turning Skype into a key part of its lucrative Office suite for corporate customers, Microsoft is threatening what made it appealing to regular folks in the first place. […] Focusing on corporations was a reasonable strategy and one shared by Skype’s prior management. Originally [former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer] and company pledged to let Skype operate independently from Lync, Microsoft’s nascent internet phone service for corporations. But two years later the company began merging the two into Skype for Business and folded that into Office. Today, Microsoft is using Skype for Business to help sell subscriptions to its cloud-based Office 365 and steal customers from Cisco. Microsoft has essentially turned Skype into a replacement for a corporate telephone system — with a few modern features borrowed from instant messaging, artificial intelligence and social networking. In closing, Bloomberg argues “the complexity of the corporate software (security, search, and the ability to host town halls) crowds out the simplicity consumers prefer (ease-of-use and decent call quality).”

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Microsoft’s Skype Is Most Used Messaging Service For Cyber Criminals, Study Finds

Microsoft’s Skype Is Most Used Messaging Service For Cyber Criminals, Study Finds

chicksdaddy quotes a report from The Security Ledger: Cyber criminals lurk in the dark recesses of the internet, striking at random and then disappearing into the virtual ether. But when they want to talk shop with their colleagues, they turn to Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and its Skype communications tools, according to an analysis by the firm Flashpoint. Mentions of different platforms were used as a proxy for gauging interest in and use of these messaging services. Flashpoint analysts looked, especially, for invitations to continue conversation outside of cyber criminal marketplaces, like references to ICQ accounts or other platforms. The survey results show that, out of a population of around 80 instant messenger platforms and protocols, a short list of just five platforms accounts for between 80% and 90% of all mentions within the cyber underground. Of those, Microsoft’s Skype was the chat king. It ranked among the top five platforms across all language groups. That, despite the platform’s lack of end-to-end encryption or forward secrecy features and evidence, courtesy of NSA hacker Edward Snowden, that U.S. spies may have snooped on Skype video calls in recent years, The Security Ledger reports. The conclusion: while security is a priority amongst thieves, it isn’t the sole concern that cyber criminals and their associates have. In fact, sophisticated hacking communities like those in Russia to continue to rely on legacy platforms like ICQ when provably more secure alternatives exist. The reason? Business. “These cyber criminals have a lot of different options that they’re juggling and a lot of factors that weigh on their options,” said Leroy Terrelonge III, the Director of Middle East and Africa Research at Flashpoint. “We might suspect that cyber criminals use the most secure means of communication all the time, that’s not what our research showed.”

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