Software

Microsoft boasted it had rebuilt Skype 'from the ground up'. Instead, it should have buried it

Users slam attempt to infuse app with social media magic

By Thomas Claburn in San Francisco

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Microsoft last month declared that it had rebuilt its Skype app "from the ground up." Those who use the app have been busy tearing it down.

Reviews of the Android and iOS versions of the app have been mostly terrible, and those posted to the Windows App Store have not been much better.

Chief among the issues is that the redesign imagines Skype as a youth-oriented social media app along the lines of Instagram or Snapchat, rather than a staid business communications tool.

"This new app is absolutely terrible," observes an individual posting to Google Play under the name Külli Kelder. "Skype is mostly used by people for professional use or for connecting with friends far away. This looks as far from simple and professional as it can be. Skype does NOT need to be Snapchat."

The Skype team clearly has a different view of its work. "We think it's the best Skype we've ever built – inside and out – and it's been designed to make it easier for you to use for your everyday communications," the company said last month.

A few individuals have expressed similar enthusiasm, but among those reviewing the most recent update, one-star ratings dominate.

Of the 20 most-recent reviews posted to the iTunes App Store, 19 out of 20 award one star out of five. The other is two stars.

"This is the worst update ever!" remarks an individual posting under the name "sc4stock."

The situation is similar among recent reviews posted to Google Play. Almost all reviews in the past few days rate Skype one star.

"The new update is horrible, needs a serious reality check," said an individual identified as "Jasmine Parker."

The recent Windows Store reviews are similarly grim, and complaints abound on Microsoft's online forum, where one person calls the update "the worst update since 'New Coke'."

El Reg reached out to Microsoft for comment. No word so far. ®

Updated to add

After this article was published, a Microsoft spokesperson got back to us suggesting the software giant appreciated the feedback.

“Last month we launched the new version of Skype to offer new and exciting ways to keep in touch,” the spinner said. “We know this was a big change and we welcome feedback along the way. We’re confident that as we continue to listen to users and provide updates to the app with new features and functionality, we’ll be able to keep improving the experience.”

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