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Is Microsoft Building Yet Another Skype Client?

Recent rumours suggest yet another desktop app is on the way — but it might already be here…

skype and a penguin tux

Skype for Linux Alpha was built to use the new infrastructure

A new report claims that Microsoft is working on yet another all-new, cross-platform Skype client.

Sources speaking to Ars Technica say that the Redmond company’s recent layoffs tie in to plans to develop a new app codenamed ‘Skype for Life’.

Skype for Life will purportedly run across all platforms, including Linux, and on iOS, and Android.

“The new client […] is being built at the company’s headquarters in Redmond. With this client being the primary focus, other clients are moving into maintenance mode, making the teams that build them, including many of Skype’s London staff, redundant,” Ars’ sources say of the move.

‘Too many apps’

Load up the official Skype download page and see the problem that a unified cross-platform client would solve.

A giddying array of official Skype clients remain freely available to download, from legacy desktop apps for Windows, macOS and Linux, to a Universal Windows Platform app for Windows 10 and Windows Mobile.

Plus there’s Skype for Web, the new Skype for Linux alpha, mobile apps for iOS and Android, Skype for TV and Xbox.

Maintaining the infrastructure for all of these different applications takes effort and resources.

The Answer May Already Be Here…

Windows supersleuth and generally all-round-reliable chap Paul Thurrott puts the kibosh on the notion of One Skype Client To Rule Them All™.

But he doesn’t rule out that new clients are being built.

Instead, Thurrott suggests that “Skype for Life” is simply an umbrella term for all the new apps that will, henceforth, use Skype’s new backend — just like the new Skype for Linux Alpha does:

“These new Skype clients will no doubt be marketed under the banner “Skype for Life,” because these clients, combined with the new architecture, provide pervasive Skype connectivity, no matter where you are or what devices you use. That, clearly, is what “Skype for Life” means. It’s not one new cross-platform client. It’s a new generation of cross-platform clients. All of which, incidentally, are already here.”

Although Skype for Linux Alpha remains some way behind its Qt-based kin in terms of features, it is the future of Skype’s Linux presence. Could it also be the future of the app in general?

At its simplest it may be a desktop wrapper around the Skype for Web site, but it could be that Skype for Life is in fact already here and running on Linux.