Microsoft addressing Skype messaging issues; hints at Windows Phone 8.1 plans

Microsoft's purchase of Skype over two years ago has proven to be a big asset for the company going forward. However, Microsoft has also had to deal with some on-going issues with Skype, particularly with its messaging features, as part of transitioning the service from a peer-to-peer infrastructure to one that uses cloud servers.

In a new interview at The Verge, Microsoft's Skype product manager Jeff Kunins admitted that its network has not made the move to support a number of mobile devices fast enough. This has resulted in messages that are sent out that get missed or are out of sync with those devices.

The good news is that Kunins claims that the Skype team is working to have messages sync up on many different clients, along with sending notifications on active devices. He stated, "You’ll see us very soon begin rolling that out so users get the benefit of cloud history, synced read state across all of your devices."

Kunins also hinted at plans that the Skype team has for the Windows Phone 8.1 client. Microsoft recently announced it has stopped supporting the Windows Phone 7 Skype app in favor of developing the current Windows Phone 8 version.  Kunins stated, ".... as you can imagine we’re doing a lot of fun things for Windows Phone 8.1 as well. I think there will be some fun things to see there." Windows Phone 8.1 itself is expected to be launched sometime in early 2014.

Source: The Verge | Image via Microsoft

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Skype on Windows Phone is a joke.

- Doesn't offer to remember your Login credentials when you sign out, meaning you have to re-enter every time.

- Doesn't have any form of 'Quiet Hours' so people in different time-zones don't Message you at 3am, which in turn means signing out, which leads back to problem #1. Be nice if you could set hours where it clicks into a predefined status with message and mutes the sounds.

- Has no Status other than Online or Invisible. So people who have Phones can't be 'Away' or 'Busy'?

And that's just the tip of the Iceberg.

THIS. Let's add:

- No voice mail access. Skype for Win7 has this.
- No FB chat. Skype for Win7 has this also.
- No Google chat. has this!

I really want to see Skype follow Hangouts' lead and become the default app for all messaging in WP8 and Windows 8. Basically just make it look like the Messaging hub we know now, but just bake in the Skype features and the ones above and kill the bugs we know of today.

"Skype messaging issues"?

Just make all instances of Skype I have running everywhere STFU when I pick up from one of them.

I am rapidly losing patience with Skype, the message delivery reliability issues are a problem, particularly if you are dealing with someone on a cellular connection where you will repeatedly get messages delivering out of order or not for several hours.

If you sleep a device and come back to it after having a text conversation, it will give new message notifications and drop feed the messages down to you on the woken client usually over a period of 40 minutes.

Some messages will not deliver until the recipient actually signs on, despite the fact that they sent them while online originally (it was me who was off line).

The most frustrating thing however is the increasingly unchecked RAM use of the client coupled with its instability. The memory recycler on Android is constantly signing it out - but it never updates the notification icon so you don't know it is signed out until you try and launch it. At this point is crashes out and you have to launch it for a second time, sign back in and watch is eat its way back through 60 MB of RAM. 60 MB? I could understand if it was video, but it is just dealing with text messages.

The whole mish mash between Skype and Messenger accounts is just the glistening icing sugar on the increasingly thin pack ice.

It's a complete shambles to be honest, I use Skype on the Desktop and on my Android device and i keep getting day old messages that are serverely delayed or they come from the one username called "Live", which makes the messages useless, and they're blaming the desktop version and removing the API to make mobile skype better? give me a break. Just another company to go from bad to worse after a takeover.

Feels like its mainly because the Skype developers are trying to pushing themselves from Microsoft/Windows. Butthurt about the takeover I take it.

Skype was always horrible on Windows platforms (linux even worse though). Skype on OSX always felt like a breeze, a decent app to use. For Windows it always has and im afraid always will be.... horrible.

What's the point of a messaging service if it cannot do offline messaging.

They should enable offline messaging for "Skype ID-Skype ID" and "Skype ID<->MS account" ASAP.

Although it works for MS-to-MS accounts, still a lot of people use their Skype IDs.

Slow. The UX is bulky and responds slowly in the Windows 8 app. I'd rather they tone down the animated spotlights and unnecessary transitions if it would make the app run faster.

It's dead simple. Skype should be baked in WP8.1, just like messenger was fully integrated to WP7. So nothing fun. Just pull your fingers out of your *ss and get on with it.
The current Skype clients are an embarrassment, whether it's on Win8.1 or WP8.

I still don't understand why Messenger backend service wasn't simply swapped out for Skype so it was a transparent transition for users of existing Messages hub on Windows Phone and it'd not have caused so much upheaval for Windows 8 adopters.
It was strange that they dropped support for Messenger when the messaging hub had it built in on the release of their flagship OS.. and then go a head and release such a poor Skype client as a replacement.

I know ALL my contacts have now migrated to facebook for chat since it's the last remaining working service across platforms that they already had accounts with.

The entire process of switching to Skype has done more harm then good. Microsoft handled the thing badly, and the Skype team hasn't helped.

What a mess. Won't be going back to it.

skype is a worthless mess. technically inferior to facetime and hangouts. functionally inferior to pretty much any messaging service (cant even do what whatsapp does).
Not integrated with anything
and the clients are rubbish, unintuitive.

Worst is, Skype was hell of a lot worse before the take-over
On WP8 after a bunch of updates it finally works quite smooth but still lacks functionality even frigging Whatsapp has.

Skype desktop for Windows is horrible, just horrible. Live Messenger was sooo much better. Such a clean and simple contact list, simple seperated tabbed messaging (fair enough, most of this was only able due to msgplus)

sagum said,
I still don't understand why Messenger backend service wasn't simply swapped out for Skype so it was a transparent transition for users of existing Messages hub on Windows Phone and it'd not have caused so much upheaval for Windows 8 adopters.

Because the backends are vastly different. Skype was P2P-based, and while Microsoft was able to centralize some of that by building servers and forcing them to be the only allowed supernodes in the Skype network, it still does not mitigate the challenges in adapting a P2P protocol designed long before mobile access was commonplace, to work well while maintaining compatibility with older clients and APIs that cannot be easily updated. I give them credit for what they've accomplished in that area.

The place where I criticize them (deservedly so) is that they abruptly began forcing Messenger users onto the Skype platform long before it was prepared to be integrated into Microsoft's product lines, and before it even came close to matching Messenger's functionality. It's obvious that this change was poorly thought out, as almost every client transition (Windows desktop client, Windows Phone Messaging Hub, Windows Phone app...) was met with missed or delayed messages, calls, and other various difficulties that took months to be corrected. (Some like multi-device ring are still major issues.)

Messenger was reliable, consistent, and very functional. IMO, far more functional than Skype ever was, nor is. The smart thing to do would have been to leave Skype as an independent product for another 1-2 years while a process was developed to bring Skype user accounts onto the Messenger platform, then rebrand Messenger as Skype.

"Kunins also hinted at plans that the Skype team has for the Windows Phone 8.1 client"

ORLY? plans like treating it like a second class citizen just as the WP7/8 client were or did they finally realize who signs their paycheck?