Microsoft to reunify Skype calling, messaging, video in new Universal Windows 10 app

After baffling a number of us Windows Skype users last year by replacing the unified Skype Windows client with three separate apps, Microsoft is getting the Skype band back together again.

On March 24, Microsoft announced its latest Skype-related change of plans, which officials attributed to customer feedback.

I asked Microsoft officials whether the coming UWP Skype app would be available through the Store or be bundled with Windows 10. “The Skype UWP app will be available to consumers via the Windows Store as part of a future Windows 10 update,” a spokesperson said.

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Microsoft still plans to continue to make the three separate Skype apps — Messaging, Calling and Video — available as standalone task-based apps for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile users, at least for now. Previews of these three apps are integrated with (a k a bundled with) Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.

When I asked whether Microsoft planned to continue to deliver these separate Skype apps, moving forward, a spokesperson told me “The Skype team is continuing to gather feedback from users to guide how we evolve the experience for mobile.”

“We’ve learned that the (use) of task-focused apps varies with screen size,” said Barbie Stafford, Director of Product Marketing for Skype. “For small screens — mobile users who have apps for each task — integrated apps work really well. For laptops and desktops, the story is quite a bit different.”

Microsoft does plan to allow Windows 10 Mobile users to also run the coming unified Skype UWP app at some point. Microsoft officials aren’t yet saying when that will happen.

Microsoft announced in June 2015 the company’s intentions to scrap its “Modern”/Universal/Windows Store version of Skype for Windows and replace it with three standalone Skype apps. Microsoft did continue to support the existing Win32 Skype desktop app on Windows 7, 8.x and 10, however (much to the relief of many of us desktop users who preferred the all-in-one integrated Skype experience).

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