Microsoft is attempting to rebound from the backlash it has suffered since acquiring and messing with Skype, the popular internet calling service that it paid $8.5 billion for in 2011. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant announced Tuesday that it was rolling out an updated version of Skype for desktop.
Skype version 8.0 will replace version 7.0, and the company stressed that that version will no longer work after Sept. 1.
“We know change can be hard, so we’re working to make the update as simple as possible,” The Skype Team wrote in a blog post.
Change has indeed been hard for fans of Skype, and reports indicate that new users are tough to come by these days in the face of competition from services such as FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp and Slack. Bloomberg reported in May that Microsoft hasn’t updated its number of users since 2016, when it was 300 million, and that growth may be “flat at best.”
But Microsoft is promising version 8.0 is the “most powerful, intuitive, and flexible version of Skype yet.” From HD video calls to @mentions, here’s a list of some of what the tech giant is promoting around the upgrade:
- Free HD video and screen sharing calls — Get together with 1 or 24 of your friends, families, or colleagues no matter what device they use Skype on. See everyone in high definition, view 1080px video, and share things together.
- More productive messaging — Express how you’re feeling by reacting to messages in conversations. Use @mentions to easily grab someone’s attention in a group chat. Simply type the @ symbol followed by their name to trigger a notification for them. You can easily find all your @mentions and get back to people in the notification center.
- Chat media gallery — Looking for the link or photo sent a few weeks ago? Chat media gallery makes it easy to find files, links, and photos that were shared in a conversation, whether it was yesterday or last month. No more scrolling through your chat history — just click Gallery under the chat name to see all the files, links, and photos in the conversation.
- Share photos, videos, and other files — Share up to 300 MB at a time over Skype just by dragging and dropping files into your conversation window.
Microsoft also noted that more features will be rolled out this summer including version 8.0 for iPad; read receipts so you can see who has read your messages; private conversations featuring end-to-end encrypted Skype audio calls and text messages or files — such as images, audio, or videos — sent using the industry standard Signal Protocol; call recording; and more.