Following the recent launch of Windows 11, Microsoft is doubling down on its confidence in Skype—the video-conferencing application that lost its market dominance to Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Windows 11 feature Microsoft Teams replaces Skype for Business, the software giant is unveiling new features for the consumer version of Skype, hoping to fortify the platform and revamp it enough to mount a comeback. According to Microsoft, which bought the platform in 2011 for $8.5 billion, Skype is “here to stay.”
The new features begin with a much-needed upgrade and modernization of Skype’s “call stage,” the central focus of the platform where users see each other’s video feed; users can now find themselves in the main view on calls. New themes and layouts, including light and dark themes, join an improved grid view, larger gallery view, and Together mode—a feature borrowed from Teams. The company also promises improved performance for Android and desktop, and an array of visual redesigns and flourishes are intended to enhance the overall enjoyment of the user interface. The new Meet Now function is meant to replicate Zoom’s quick meeting capabilities. Browser support will be extended to more browsers, but Firefox for desktops may remain uncovered by Skype.