Skype drops support for older Windows Phone, Android devices

android phone skype
Pablo Hidalgo/123rf
Microsoft is refocusing Skype “from peer-to-peer to a modern, mobile-friendly cloud architecture,” and doing so means some changes are in store. Support for non-Windows 10 Mobile clients will be dropped, and access for Android devices will be limited to Android 4.03 and later beginning in October.

The company still plans to support older desktop versions of Windows — even XP — but only Mac OS X clients using 10.10 Yosemite or later. Additionally, iOS support will be limited to iOS 8 and later, Microsoft’s Gurdeep Pall said in a blog post. The changes are a result of a focus by the Skype division on using platforms that a majority of their users are accessing the service from, and planned changes to the service itself.

The focus on Windows 10 Mobile likely has a lot to do with Microsoft’s programming strategy with Windows 10. Applications written for the operating system use Universal Windows Platform, which allows developers to write one application that can run on a variety of devices, whether desktop or mobile.

One problem that Microsoft may run into is the fact that only 10 percent of its mobile base currently uses Windows 10 Mobile compared to a staggering 78 percent running Windows Phone 8.1, according to AdDuplex. That might not be as big of a deal as it seems, given Microsoft has made many of the recent Lumia phones Windows 10 Mobile compatible.

With Android, this should be less of a problem, as devices running incompatible versions are likely budget devices — cheap tablets and the like — which those users are probably much less likely to use Skype anyway. It does put some Windows Phone users in a bit of predicament given Skype’s status as one of Microsoft’s key services, but the company is pressing on anyway.

“Skype’s transition to the cloud is a huge technical endeavor, but one that is necessary and one we firmly believe in,” Pall wrote. “Our users are at the core of everything we do and this transition will enable us to meet their needs in the years to come.”

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