Skype to retire Desktop API support by end of 2013

Skype, and its parent company Microsoft, will be retiring its older Desktop API for third party developers by the end of the year. That's according to an email that was sent to many of those developers this week by Chris Andrews, the current head of Microsoft's Skype Developer Program.

According to the email, posted at GigaOM, Skype will shut down the App Directory in September; in addition, any chat functionality that uses the Desktop API will also stop working by that date. Skype will also inform users with messaging in Skype for Desktop of these changes around in that same time period. Full support for the Desktop API will stop at the end of 2013.

Skype first launched its Desktop API nearly 10 years ago, well before Microsoft acquired the VoIP service in 2011. In his email, Andrews mentioned the previously announced plans to improve Skype's performance on mobile platforms as the main reason for retiring the Desktop API. He added:

These APIs were originally created in 2004 and do not support mobile application development. Going forward, developers will be able to write applications, which use features of Skype across all the major platforms, through the use of Skype URIs. We believe this will allow developers to create innovative mobile, web and desktop solutions, while retaining a familiar and consistent Skype experience across devices.

Andrews added that the decision "was not made lightly" and they wanted to give developers who still use the Desktop API in their applications time to modify them before their support ends.

Source: GigaOM | Image via Microsoft

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Along with the announced retirement of SkypeKit, this will mean no more Skype messaging through multi-protocol IM clients. For example, Trillian, probably the only usable interface to Skype, will stop working with the service by the end of the year. They say they're doing it for a better user experience. What they mean is, they lock out any client that offered a better user experience than the original Skype client -- which is, in fact, *any* client, because they don't come worse than the official Skype. Hard to lose users to other clients if none of them work anymore.

What bugs me the most is how they try to convince developers that Skype URIs are a suitable replacement for the API. And by the sound of some reactions, they succeeded. They talk of giving developers who still use the API time to switch to using URIs -- as if they were even remotely similar in terms of functionality. The API allowed you to actually communicate with the client (Skype or SkypeKit). URIs are nothing but glorified desktop shortcuts. You can give your application the ability to open the Skype client window. Whoopee!

To the guy who mentioned that Microsoft are going to improve the Skype backend by implementing technologies from their Messenger service (namely, offline messaging and multi-client syncing) -- I can only hope you're right. But it has been a long time now since Microsoft have bought Skype, and with all the hopes I had that they would use some of their Messenger expertise to fix and improve Skype, so far nothing at all has changed.

The worst thing is that, in contrast to almost any other category of software and service, you don't have free choice when it comes to IM solutions. In closed networks, you're more or less forced to use what your contacts use. Apart from that, the only justifiable reaction to this announcement would be to delete your Skype account entirely. Nobody deserves having to use the Skype client.

this kinda sucks. Our company's desktop software used this API. Allowed customers to answer and make calls from within our software.

MikeInBA said,
this kinda sucks. Our company's desktop software used this API. Allowed customers to answer and make calls from within our software.

Have you had a look at SkypeKit? It's essentially a Skype implementation in a DLL.

MFH said,

Have you had a look at SkypeKit? It's essentially a Skype implementation in a DLL.
Did when we first implemented, but past on it for a reason i cant remember.

In any case, i wont be able to use it :

skype
SkypeKit is no longer accepting new developer registrations

Lol oh let me guess, because third party apps don't display ads... **** skype, I've had enough of it's god awful laggy service anyway, just wish everyone would move away from it to something better.

n_K said,
Lol oh let me guess, because third party apps don't display ads... **** skype, I've had enough of it's god awful laggy service anyway, just wish everyone would move away from it to something better.

That's what people keep saying, but then you receive a skype call and then...

This is about the API that requires Skype running in the background - right? (which was totally useless IMHO)
It doesn't sound like they're deprecating SkypeKit though…

They're in fact retiring SkypeKit as well. Which makes sense, since the Desktop API was the only way to talk to SkypeKit.

Well it looks like Skype is becoming metro, good thing there is Google hangout, only 4 of the people I know are still on Skype, the rest switched.

Metro is the end of Microsoft!

john.smith_2084 said,
Well it looks like Skype is becoming metro

Think you completely missed what the article was talking about. It's retiring an API in favor of a different one, not the desktop version of the software...

john.smith_2084 said,
Well it looks like Skype is becoming metro, good thing there is Google hangout, only 4 of the people I know are still on Skype, the rest switched.

Metro is the end of Microsoft!

Ya, this is not what they are talking about...

This is closing down older and ineffective APIs as Skype continues to move forward.

MS is also revising the Skype communication infrastructure to support both the older Skype peer model and bringing over some of the strengths of the Messenger server based technologies.

As for Google Hangouts, it is great if you are willing to settle for poor quality video and crashing clients.

Basically the current Skype desktop app itself can be controlled via an API however this method requires the app itself to be running. What they want people who still use that API to migrate to their web service API that communicates with the Skype network directly (instead through the desktop app). Most newer apps and multi protocol IM apps like Trillian already use the service API's. Hope this helps.

I think it just means that the programming interface for the desktop skype application is going to be closed... if you (as a developer) want to continue to work with skype you must use the newer mobile API, I guess.

The local client APIs for the desktop are being retired. The service APIs that are multi-platform should be used instead, which actually makes sense for a service like Skype.

Well, some applications hooks onto Skype allowing them to interact with Skype rather then using an authentication service like facebook.

This API wasn't very useful anyways since you had to have Skype running with the other app. You might as well use Skype if you're going to have it running

link6155 said,
Well, some applications hooks onto Skype allowing them to interact with Skype rather then using an authentication service like facebook.

This API wasn't very useful anyways since you had to have Skype running with the other app. You might as well use Skype if you're going to have it running


Agreed. I always thought that was odd. LOL

All this means is that the code inside Skype that allows 3rd party developers to make addons to skype will be taken out. And URIs put in to fill the void, i.e. Skype:// links in browsers and other apps..

astroXP said,
Infamous click baiting. Same thoughts here.

Though there is definitely some of that going on, I don't think this is an example of that. It clearly says API...

Mikeffer said,

What? Maybe if you didn't read the title properly.

To be honest my mind skipped over the API part when I read it at first... Read it without that and you will see what they mean.

shinji257 said,

To be honest my mind skipped over the API part when I read it at first... Read it without that and you will see what they mean.

Yeah i totally get that