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Microsoft picks up shotgun, walks 'Modern apps' behind the shed

Windows 8.x users to receive ye olde desktoppe Skype, cos it works better on PCs

Microsoft looks to have decided that the “modern” apps it gave the world with Windows 8 were a confusing mess, at least in the case of Skype, and will replace it with normal, boring, desktop Skype.

“With the upcoming release of Windows 10 for PCs, it makes sense to use the Skype application optimized for mouse and keyboards use,” writes Skype head of desktop product marketing Aga Guzik. That the Windows 10 app is “capable of doing touch as well” means Microsoft has decided it's best to have “one version of Skype rather than 2 separate applications performing the same function.”

Windows 8.x users will therefore find, come July 7, that the “modern” application will be replaced by the desktop version of Skype.

“Modern” apps are widely held to be one of the reasons Windows 8.x fared so poorly, because their touch-centric interfaces didn't deliver a great experience on the many devices lacking touch screens. Plenty of users therefore relied on desktop applications and installed various bits of software to make the 8.x desktop more easily accessible.

For Microsoft to make this change for a flagship app therefore looks rather a lot like running up the white flag, if it hasn't already been hoisted by the decision to make Windows 10 a free upgrade.

Windows RT users – both of you – are excepted from the change. Other Windows 8.x users will need to log in to the desktop app and will be able to access “All of your contacts and conversations from [the] last 30 days”.

In other Skype news, Guzik says Windows 10 users can expect the application's messaging, voice and video functions to appear as either discrete or a combined app.

“This way if you want to quickly make a call or send a message you can use task based apps and for those of you power users who like the advantages of the all in one app, you can pick what’s right for you.”

Skype works pretty well with all three combined. Will Microsoft need to reverse this decision too, one day? ®

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