Starting October 2016, Windows Phone 8.1 users will no longer be able to use Skype. From Skype’s perspective, this has nothing to do with Windows Phone, per se. Skype is cutting all of their older, marginally used apps across various outdated platforms. Skype is building its UWP app for the future. It’s not really Skype’s problem that the Windows team could not upgrade all Windows 8 phones to Windows 10.
If we’ve learned anything from Satya’s time at Microsoft, it’s that the rest of the company is no longer beholden to prop up failed Windows initiatives, or to limit their strategies because they are forbidden to bring their products to customers on other platforms. This change, honestly, has probably saved the company from continued decline into irrelevancy.
On the positive side, because of Microsoft’s brilliant UWP strategy, Windows 10 phone and tablet users will *finally* get a modern, full-featured and functional Skype client. One that is guaranteed to receive timely and useful updates into the future, because it will become the sole Skype client for Windows 10. This will also be true for many other apps, both from Microsoft and third parties.
I think for Windows Phone users who want the latest experiences, it’s just time to upgrade, either to Windows 10, or to iOS or Android (if that’s your preference). The Windows 8 stores have been dead for 18 months or more, and this news is just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ll just add that most of those Windows 8 phones are either higher-end models that are now 3-4 years old like the 920 (and thus reaching the end of their natural life), or they are low-end models like the 520 and similar, and did not cost a lot of money in the first place. I don’t think it makes sense for any developer to basically rebuild an app on a new architecture exclusively for this user base, as harsh as that may sound.
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