Skype for Mac: The slow march to oblivion
When Microsoft purchased Skype, lots of people speculated Redmond would destroy the world’s best loved voice over IP and video chat solution. However, the wrecking of Skype for Mac started long before Steve Ballmer got his sweaty hands on it.
Skype 5, an ongoing disaster, preceded Microsoft’s takeover.
That said, Skype 5.11 beta (blog) is now available and the bullet points point in one direction. Though users get awesome (sarcasm) new HD emoticons, development seems to be heading in a direction that means Skype for Mac will eventually get subsumed into something else:
• Sharing Instant Messages via Messenger — Users can now sign in with their Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID), and see presence as well as send and receive IM messages from their friends who are using Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail or Outlook.com.
• Improved Facebook integration — Sign in directly with a Facebook account, without needing to first create a Skype account.
• Link Microsoft and Facebook accounts to Skype — If users sign in with a Microsoft or Facebook account they will be offered the option to link their Skype account, doing so will display a combined list of friends.
• Different conversations can now be opened in separate windows by selecting this option in Preferences (General -> Open conversation in new window when I double-click in the sidebar).
• New HD emoticons: (yn) – fingers crossed, (facepalm), (waiting), (highfive), (lalala), (tumbleweed)
Meh, who needs a Skype account when you can login using a Microsoft or Facebook account instead? Fundamentally, Skype is a feature rather than an application let alone a business model and who will be surprised to see it devoured by Microsoft, which owns a fair chunk of Facebook?
Sharing IMs via Messages? Why bother with Skype at all. The end isn’t nigh, but the writing is on the wall.
Then again, with Messages and FaceTime development moving along nicely, who needs Skype?