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In memoriam: See you in Valhalla, Skype Classic. Version 8 can never replace you

Microsoft hammers the final nail into 7's coffin

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Skype Classic née 7, which tottered into the sunset on 1 November 2018.

Born from the union of Niklas Zennström of Sweden and Janus Friis of Denmark, some of the brains behind the KaZaa peer-to-peer file sharing application, Skype spent its formative months in Estonia before being shown off to the world on 29 August 2003.

Popular with its peers from the outset (PDF), Skype was soon carrying messages for 100,000 concurrent Windows users and had been downloaded 1.5 million times. The upstart messaging platform gained audio conferencing in February 2004 along with new friends in the form of a Mac version months later in August. By October, having spent just over a year in existence, Skype was hosting 1 million concurrent users.

After hitting 10 million Skype-to-Skype calls in June 2005, the platform was adopted by online tat bazaar eBay for $2.6bn. Proud parents Friis and Zennström got to stay on as part of the deal, for a while at least.

After four years dithering over Skype's place in the online auction world, eBay sold it on to a consortium in 2009, which included Zennström. In the meantime, Skype had acquired video calling, gone mobile and reached 1 billion downloads.

As Skype turned eight, it was snapped up by Microsoft for an eye-watering $8.5bn, replacing the software giant's Windows Live Messenger and Lync platforms with its technology.

Unfortunately, with Microsoft's acquisition came the seeds of Skype's demise as users knew it. The original peer-to-peer technology began to be phased out in favour of supernodes in Redmond's data centres (in spite of privacy worries) and was eventually killed off completely in favour of an oh-so-trendy cloud-based architecture.

With an unloved Windows 10 UWP application and a Win32 desktop incarnation in the form of generation 8, the days of the "Classic" version were numbered. Citing worries over security, privacy and GDPR, the axe hovered over the neck of version 7 for a few months before finally descending on 1 November.

Peter Skillman, Skype's Director of Design, tried to soften the blow for users by spraying Twitter with messages extolling the virtues of version 8 before admitting, in a masterstroke of understatement, that "maybe we will hear a lot of growsing".

Skillman should probably steer clear of Microsoft's Skype UserVoice forum for a little while as users mourn the passing of their beloved client. Amid the "this version sucks" wailing, the message is loud and clear: "Simply make Skype 8 like Skype 7".

Sadly, Skype 7 (or Classic) has been taken from this world before version 8 could learn all its tricks.

No flowers. ®

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