Report: Windows 8.1 to dump Messaging app in favor of Skype

When Windows 8 was launched in October, it came with a Messaging app as part of a group of  Windows 8 apps developed in-house by Microsoft. Now it looks like people who upgrade to Windows 8.1 will say "good-bye" to that app.

A new report on The Verge, citing unnamed sources, claims that the final version of Windows 8.1 will not have the Messaging app anymore. Instead, Microsoft will replace it with Skype, which was first released for Windows 8 a few days before its official launch. The current public preview version of Windows 8.1 already lacks the Messaging app as part of Microsoft's collection of pre-installed Modern apps.

This move, if true, would seem to be a logical step for Microsoft as it integrates Skype into more of its services. While Skype was acquired by Microsoft in October 2011, the company has been making slow and steady progress in adding Skype support to its programs. It replaced the old Windows Live Messenger earlier this year, and it will be included as the main chat interface for the company's upcoming Xbox One game console when it launches in November of 2013. Microsoft recently added cross-communication support between Skype and its business-themed Lync message program.

Source: The Verge | Image via Microsoft

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When I ran Win8, I found the Skype for Win8 app was useless. Sometimes I want to IM with friends while I'm doing something else. But on Win8, that useless Start screen with all its fullscreen apps is a 1-task nightmare. I don't want to have to switch to fullscreen IM then back to the desktop constantly. I uninstalled that crap and installed Skype for Win7 to get back my multi-tasking ability. Later I just uninstalled Win8 altogether and went back to my Win7 system. Win8 is a total failure for my use.

Microsoft listen here.
Skype has been a huge disappointment so far. I know nobody who uses it other than to make video calls.
Any decent IM client needs to integrate multiple IM services as the IM world is fragmented. The Messenger app wasn't a bad first step, better than iMessenger anyway, due to the Facebook integration. Do not forget this! Rich presence for one or more services would be nice, but don't lose sight of this key point.
Be very careful about letting the Skype team own this. They don't have a good track record.
Apple are very successful at this, and the kids love it, so you had better get it right this time!

Just FYI for those of you interested... If you uninstall the "People, Mail, Calendar..." modern app(s) and reinstall from the store, the Messaging app will be reinstalled.

Not sure how long that will be the case. I hoped they would keep this cleaner interface but looks like it will be going away soon in favor of the Skype app. Like someone above mentioned, the Skype app is a bit more busy

Who do we write to at Microsoft to confirm that Skype will be on, at minimum, feature par with Messaging before 8.1 final comes out? Skype for Metro is unusable in it's current state for basic messaging tasks. The answer to every Skype support request I've made is "use Skype for desktop".

I would actually go even further and say, Skype for Desktop is not even up to par with Windows Live Messenger. It was perfect and to be honest, all it needed was to be 'metrofied' with a nice clean look consistent with the rest of the apps and rebrand it as Skype since the Skype backend was already moved to Messenger backend behind the scenes. But nope, we get this basic Skype and Skype for desktop crap.

They should integrate Lync into Windows and then migrate the entire user base to use that. Lync is 1000 times better than Skype.

I agree. Skype is horrible on Windows 7 at least. It's an application with a design and flashy ad-ridden model that is a decade old. Lync 2013 makes a world of a difference.

Microsoft should throw out the entire Skype codebase for all platforms except for its network code, and start over.

Oh great. The Metro Skype app for me is broken. It won't show notifications for me when I get messages. I have to physically open the app.

Another step backwards, I use messaging to get FB messages just as I do on my desktop. I have skype on my Surface but I don't like or use it.

Skype needs simplified. Microsoft needs a general "Messenger" app similar to OS X's "Messages" Formally iChat. I want to be able to use Google Talk, Yahoo, ICQ ... AIM. We need a general high quality app to do this. One doesn't exist from a 3rd party, they are awful.

ObiWanToby said,
Skype needs simplified. Microsoft needs a general "Messenger" app similar to OS X's "Messages" Formally iChat. I want to be able to use Google Talk, Yahoo, ICQ ... AIM. We need a general high quality app to do this. One doesn't exist from a 3rd party, they are awful.

I don't think that is possible since each network has different protocols plus there needs to be agreement between companies.
ICQ already has a Windows 8 app. Facebook in a article is building an app which would include FB Chat. Google is moving away from open protocol of talk to Hangouts then to rumor Babel and Google is not making any plans at the moment. Most likely Google will just build apps within Chrome and never build any other apps besides search and chrome in metro.
Yahoo build some metro apps and might go towards messenger for metro.
AOL only has AOL Today as metro app and I think they also reduce the development of the AIM staff so maybe but slowly.

It would be great if they could keep the messaging app and have it integrate with facebook/skype/twitter/google/yahoo etc sort of like the people hub in windows phone

wv@gt said,
It would be great if they could keep the messaging app and have it integrate with facebook/skype/twitter/google/yahoo etc sort of like the people hub in windows phone

That concept is the reason why I got onboard with Windows (Phone) in the first place. One app for all communication features from various services connected by a people hub for all contacts from all those services.

The idea itself isnt dead but it doesnt seem Microsoft is investing in it anymore. It just sits there idle. A real shame because Google actually seems to make some moves towards reaching this goal. And it seems to me the Skype team is actually working against reaching this goal by taking over the core communication app of Windows without adding the features of the previous app.

Now we have to rely on a whole range of third party apps and I feel I might as well have gotten an iPad.

I stil use the people hub all the time in WP. The problem is that is doesn't aggregate everything. If I could add more social networks to it that would be awesome

Ronnet said,


Now we have to rely on a whole range of third party apps and I feel I might as well have gotten an iPad.

Absolutely. I hope MS don't underestimate the importance of delivering a rock solid IM solution in Win8.1. Can the Skype team really be entrusted with this?

i still miss MSN/WLM i still find it superior and nicer looking than Skype. The new metro skype app looks ok i guess but i just disable metro anyway so wont use it.

****!

Now instead of a simple interface, I'll be given a busy Skype screen. Hopefully they'll have a minimal mode to solve that. Unlikely because they will want to get that ad revenue.

Dick move, Microsoft for screwing with the only modern app I use.

ambiance said,
****!

Now instead of a simple interface, I'll be given a busy Skype screen. Hopefully they'll have a minimal mode to solve that. Unlikely because they will want to get that ad revenue.

Dick move, Microsoft for screwing with the only modern app I use.

I don't think you've used the Skype app for Windows 8... I don't think it could be anymore minimal...

On the one hand this sounds like the right thing to do. On the other hand the Skype-team hates Microsoft and has NOT properly implemented Windows Messenger in their own applications. The messaging app also has facebook chat. Will Skype support that? Given their trackrecord I think they won't.

And with that another compelling feature of modern windows is lost. The whole 'feature-based' approach instead of 'app-based' like the competition is what attracted me to Windows Phone in the first place. I feel this concept is not used enough and the way Skype is implemented (or better said, NOT implemented) is the most telling example. There is no difference between Skype on Windows and Skype on iOS. As a Microsoft service you'd expect Skype to be at the core of the experience in a similar way as Bing. They promise to do this on Xbox One but I have zero faith in the Skype team.

Microsoft owns Skype now, and they also have a good relationship with Facebook.
I'm pretty sure they will do something about it...

ibsan said,
Microsoft owns Skype now, and they also have a good relationship with Facebook.
I'm pretty sure they will do something about it...

I know they own Skype which is why I couldn't wait for Skype on WP7, and then on WP8 and then on Windows 8. Each of them has been a let down. They are not more integrated then Skype on iOS.

And its not as if Microsoft doesnt bring the Skype team onboard. They've been given the responsibility of the whole comunication business of Microsoft. They have the power to make it one smooth service as the core of all Windows products. But instead they can't even be bothered to add the basic messenger services to their apps. They've been given this huge new messeging market and they are letting these consumers down.

They also dont seem bothered to add facebook chat to their service. The messenger team used to be a big supporter of the whole integrated approach just like the Outlook and Bing team. The Skype team doesnt seem to fit in. And as for Microsoft's relationship with Facebook. Facebook doesnt seem that interested in getting their apps out for their customers on Microsoft platforms.

And I'm not just talking facebook apps but also instagram. I dont think that relationship is good at all. Perhaps it should be based on the deals they've made but perhaps the people at Facebook simply dont like Microsoft. They like their money of course but that's it.

Yeah, I'm fine with this so long as they integrate Facebook. The desktop app already does that, just not the Metro app -- and Skype provides Facebook's video messaging capabilities. So I imagine it will be supported in a matter of time.

Ronnet said,
On the one hand this sounds like the right thing to do. On the other hand the Skype-team hates Microsoft and has NOT properly implemented Windows Messenger in their own applications. The messaging app also has facebook chat. Will Skype support that? Given their trackrecord I think they won't.

And with that another compelling feature of modern windows is lost. The whole 'feature-based' approach instead of 'app-based' like the competition is what attracted me to Windows Phone in the first place. I feel this concept is not used enough and the way Skype is implemented (or better said, NOT implemented) is the most telling example. There is no difference between Skype on Windows and Skype on iOS. As a Microsoft service you'd expect Skype to be at the core of the experience in a similar way as Bing. They promise to do this on Xbox One but I have zero faith in the Skype team.

This was my issue. I used the Messenger app for Facebook chats (which it sucked at either way) and the Skype app for, well, Skype.

I figured they would merge the Messenger app into Skype and include Facebook chat like they did on the Skype desktop application.

But nope... Now I had to download IM+ to be able to chat with Facebook contacts.

It was too bad that the messaging app was not really used.. it would of been epic if Watsapp and Skype were usable within the app but... it was a pretty useless app except for facebook chat which I cant stand

Lachlan said,
It was too bad that the messaging app was not really used.. it would of been epic if Watsapp and Skype were usable within the app but... it was a pretty useless app except for facebook chat which I cant stand

Not just facebook chat but Windows Messenger as well. Which should be part of Skype now but Skype doesnt fully support it. I fear they'll kill off this messenger/facebook chat hybrid but not change a thing about Skype and as a result diminish the value of the whole product.

Ronnet said,

Not just facebook chat but Windows Messenger as well. Which should be part of Skype now but Skype doesnt fully support it. I fear they'll kill off this messenger/facebook chat hybrid but not change a thing about Skype and as a result diminish the value of the whole product.

I think there was a article saying Facebook is building a app for windows 8. I am assuming that app would take over Facebook chats

DarkMidnight said,

I think there was a article saying Facebook is building a app for windows 8. I am assuming that app would take over Facebook chats

And then we have two apps for communication.. not an improvement. So if I want to contact a friend and he's not on skype/messenger then I have to check facebook, etc. This app-based approach is why I decided to leave Android and support WP's function-based approach.

One app for all communication sevices. If someone isnt on one servive you can immediatly see if he's on another and reach him through that sevice within the same app. Microsoft is losing its competitive advantage thanks to the skype team.