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Skype first to scrap Windows Mobile

But probably not the last

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Skype has pulled its Windows Mobile client, saying the interface wasn't worth keeping and presumably planning something better for Windows Phone 7 Series.

Users attempting to download the client, which was Skype's first foray into mobility, are now greeted with an FAQ explaining that the Windows-Mobile versions of Skype have been withdrawn because they were "not offering the best possible Skype experience" - good enough yesterday, but apparently not good enough today. The removal was noted by ZD Net.

It seems unlikely that Skype woke up this morning and decided that the interface was so poor it had to pull the product - much more likely that a tiny customer base, combined with the impending death of the platform, has prompted Skype to pull support for the version.

Windows Mobile devices have never appealed to the budget-conscious, while Skype's premise is based on saving money. Not to mention that many Windows Mobile handsets will be in enterprises with users banned from installing Skype anyway.

Then there's the "impending death" issue: no matter how many times Microsoft reassures existing partners with promises that "Windows Phone Classic" will continue to exist, no one believes it. Windows CE, the embedded OS onto which manufacturers can build their own interfaces, will continue to pop up here and there, but Windows Mobile is as good as dead.

Your correspondent remembers showing the first Windows Mobile Skype client to a network operator who was preparing to launch 3G, and suggesting that this disruptive technology could present a risk. "No," he was told, "the amount we're going to charge for 3G will make Skype too expensive to ever use on a mobile phone." That isn't nearly as true as it once was.

Nostalgia aside, there's no point supporting a tiny user base on a platform that will be dead in a year. Existing users will be OK until the end of 2010, but after that Skype suggests you get yourself an iPhone or a Symbian handset - though perhaps they'll have a Windows Phone 7 Series version out by then. ®

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