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In its early days, Skype allowed two users to make free calls from two computers or two smartphones. Today, the platform makes it a point of honor to bring together all Internet users around the world. The application is the instant messaging of choice for professionals and individuals alike. Why is she so exceptional?

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Skype Developer | Updated on 12/21/2020

What is Skype?

Skype software makes phone calls, screen shares and video conferences.

High quality services

Skype is the pioneer of international calling. The application, which appeared in 2003 in Luxembourg, was the first web application to offer this service on an international scale. Today, the platform has more than 6 million subscribers.

Easy to use, the interface is accessible to users of all age groups, which is not the case with all video chat applications.

Accessibility is also a major asset. Basic services (two-way audio calling, videoconferencing and instant messaging) are free. However, you can deepen and enrich the options by paying a monthly fee. The subscription allows all Internet users across 27 countries to contact each other, discuss and chat with others, even without having a Skype account.

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A program dedicated to professionals

Skype is aimed at all types of users. The platform dedicates the Microsoft Skype for Business application to professionals on the lookout for professional service. The computer program built into Microsoft Office Skype for Business programs brings a number of advantages, including affordable business calls. The costs are even more divided if the interlocutors simultaneously use the Skype tool. Facilitating exchanges between business groups thus increases productivity. The service reduces time-consuming trips and favors fast and direct exchanges.

Skype has also set up its Skype Manager software. The computer program aims to control the costs and expenses of a business in telephone services. It provides you with a main account which centralizes all the data related to remote communication expenses. The software also ensures the fluidity of communication, both internally (between employees) and externally (between the company and customers).

What’s new in the latest version of Skype?

Concerned about optimizing the user experience, Skype is embarking on the race for novelty. Here are the latest features implemented.

Appearance of Skype version 8.67

Microsoft unveils the appearance of a new version of Skype called Skype 8.67. The nugget of the web supports “Ensemble Mode”. This takes the participants of a meeting into a virtual space that can take several forms (an amphitheater, a conference room, a studio, etc.).

The purpose of the functionality is to relax the atmosphere and acclimate users to the digital environment. However, its use requires a minimum number of 5 participants.

Another feature called “Big Grid” displays a picture of all the participants in a large meeting. The new version has also removed the bugs that affect the flow of exchanges. The problem was triggered mainly on Mac OS. The platform has also removed the phenomenon of video freezing that arises during a call.

Adoption of API conversion bubbles

API conversation bubbles, those little round icons that take root in the foreground, have been on the rise in recent years. Practical, funny images give direct access to the conversation in progress. Skype has adopted the trend in order to improve its messaging.

However, API chat bubble support requires some configuration. Users must integrate new programming interfaces into the platform that will allow compatibility between the two systems.

The Meet now feature

The “Meet Now” option is a feature that brings a touch of novelty to the Skype community. The system allows new users without an account to join a videoconference in progress.

To do this, the requester creates a meeting, retrieves their link, and distributes it to the main participants. Then just paste the link to join the audio or video meeting. The system supports up to 50 participants.

In addition, the functionality embeds several options, such as:

  • call recording
  • sharing of content for 30 days from the date of the conference
  • changing the background throughout the conference

This feature was developed with the aim of countering the rise of Zoom (its competitor) while meeting the expectations of Internet users.

Calls to 100

Users are eagerly awaiting the “Call to 100” feature that Skype recently suggested. As a reminder, the videoconferencing tool can only receive 50 users in a discussion group. The platform then promised to set up the Calls to 100 program for Insider program subscribers. For now, Internet users are waiting for the beta version.

This decision follows the rise of Teams, a videoconferencing service for professionals. The application is able to bring together 300 users in a single phone call or a video conference.

Skype features

What OS is Skype compatible with?

Skype has the advantage of being compatible with all devices, provided you know how to configure the device in the rules of the art.

Skype and browsers

Skype is compatible on Windows, Mac and Linux. Moreover, a new version of Skype has emerged and goes perfectly with the Windows 10 operating system. Version 8.61 consists of an Electron version which replaced the React Native technology.

As usual, users will enjoy two versions: a desktop version available from skype.com and another version from Microsoft Store. Skype8.61 includes several improvements in terms of phone calls, image quality of videoconferences and conversation moderation. It should be noted that PCs running Windows 7 and Windows 8 / 8.1 can still use older versions of Skype.

Skype and mobile devices

Skype is also compatible with all mobile media: tablets and smartphones. The app is available on iPhones and iPads that use the higher version of iOS9. The latter supports Skype version 8.34.

Android smartphones can also take advantage of the platform’s functionalities, provided they use the Android 4.0.4 operating system and above.

You can also make calls from Alexa. Your Xbox can also be used as a support for remote chats.

What are Skype’s group phone line calling subscriptions?

All Skype services are free, but involve a limitation on the number of participants. If you wish to carry out multiple exchanges around the world, you must pay a monthly subscription. Skype offers a variety of plans depending on the country.

To chat live across France, Skype offers you an alternative: limited and unlimited calls. A subscription of 13 euros per month allows you to enjoy unlimited calls on landlines and mobile phones. The platform grants you one month of free trial. A subscription of 6.5 euros per month gives the right to calls within the limit of 400 minutes. To make calls globally, choose between formulas at:

  • 5 euros to make 190-minute calls
  • 10 euros to call for 380 minutes
  • 25 euros to chat for 955 minutes

You benefit from a variety of payment choices: Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, bank transfer, Diners, JCB, Discover, Skrill …

What are the best alternatives to Skype?

Skype today faces several rivals who are constantly updating themselves to meet the needs of users’ exchanges.

Zoom

Zoom is a teleconferencing and calling platform for SMEs. The application is the work of the American teleconferencing service company of the same name. The pro solution allows you to:

  • video chat
  • share your screen
  • share analytical data in a conference
  • carry out professional meetings thanks to the Whiteboard function
  • use task management tools

The instrument is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and iOS Phone / iPad. Zoom invites its users to organize and administer meetings in HD video, audio and instant messaging. Organizers can also create virtual rooms.

Ionos

Ionos is also a big rival to Skype. The app is free and easy to use. Its use does not imply the installation of any software, because the services are available from its home page.

Attending a conference does not require an account. However, participants must pass a password filter that the organizer will share before the meeting takes place.

The tool is intended for SMEs who wish to overcome the constraints of data collection imposed by other remote communication platforms. The interface supports groups of 24 participants in a videoconference. Furthermore, Ionos is only optimized for Edge and Chrome.

Jitsi

Jitsi is free software intended for Internet users wishing to discuss in complete safety. The platform has set up an encryption system for all user data. The parameter codifies the information spoken throughout the conference. The mode can be activated and deactivated with a simple button.

Generally, Jitsi does not impose any restrictions on the number of participants. Everything will therefore depend on the capacity of the computers and the quality of the internet connection. Jitsi is accessible even without an account. The platform offers an extension called Jitsi Meet. The latter makes it easy to add new participants to a conversation by sending a simple link.