Microsoft has sneaked some extra Skype integration into Windows 10, coming hot on the heels of the inevitable fix for the final version of the October 2020 update.
A lucky subset of Windows 10 Dev Channel Insiders last night got their hands on Microsoft's latest flailing swipe at Zoom with a Skype "Meet Now" icon in the taskbar notification area. The feature, added in build 20221, gives users the ability to kick off a video call without requiring a sign-up.
Skype Meet Now turned up in web guise earlier this year and it is with a grim inevitability that the feature has found its way into Windows 10. It is certain that some within Microsoft are currently pondering just how in blue blazes the business got so comprehensively leapfrogged by Zoom in the remote working arena.
Or, as annoying Brit export James Corden observed in an extremely on-the-nose skit for US chat show The Late Late Show last week, "What the hell happened to Skype?". Good question, James. Good question. As former Microsoft bigwig Steven Sinofsky remarked: "Ouch."
The new build also features (again, only for some Insiders at the moment) the ability to pin notifications to the top of the Your Phone notification feed as well as a notification to let a user know when an app has registered itself to run at startup.
Also notable was a nudge towards the door for Microsoft's unloved People app. The Windows team reckons that when users stumble across it, it's from the Windows 10 Mail and Calendar apps. The People app is therefore being stripped from Start, although Microsoft continued to bravely insist "it remains as an inbox app".
Windows 10 October 2020 Update. Again
"We believe," said Windows Insider head honcho Brandon LeBlanc last week, "that Build 19042.508 is the final build." (Spoiler alert: It wasn't.)
LeBlanc gave himself a get-out-of-jail-free card by adding that Microsoft would continue "to improve the overall experience of the October 2020 update" and, sure enough, four days later build 19042.541 popped up on Insider machines with a raft of fixes.
As well as dealing with the Windows Subsystem for Linux "Element not found error," the update (which dropped into the Beta and Release Preview channels) saw a large number of fixes aimed at making things more manageable by administrators, as well as a couple of nods toward the past with an enhancement to the system's ability to detect when Edge's Internet Explorer mode has fallen over and a reminder in IE11 that support for Adobe Flash ends in December 2020.
There is no guarantee that anything in the Dev Channel build will ever see the light of day. 20H2 (aka the Windows 10 October 2020 Update) is, however, likely to put in an appearance on non-Insider Windows Update screens over the coming weeks. ®