FAQ: Why Skype For Windows Phone Is Such A Mess?

Written on April 23, 2012, by in Categories: Microsoft, Windows Phone, Windows Phone Apps 8 Comments

FAQ: Why Skype For Windows Phone Is Such A Mess?With the recent Skype 1.0 release for the Windows Phone, there have been a lot of complains, some fair and some not so much. Hopefully, this post will address most (if not all of them).

- Microsoft bought Skype 1 year ago, why it took them so long to release a Beta?

While Microsoft acquired Skype on May, 2011, they could not work on the actual app for quite some time? In fact, they weren’t allowed to do anything with the Skype up until October 7, 2011, when Europe approved the purchase.

This is why it took them so long. They were playing by the rules.

And finally, here is a reason why we actually wanted to write this article:

- Why Skype for Windows Phone is such a mess? It has no toast notifications, can’t run in the background, won’t run on the low end Tango devices, etc. (via WPDaily)?

It has to do with both Windows Phone limitations (will be fixed in WP8) and Skype itself. Toast notifications won’t work, in case you miss a video call and get a notification, you won’t actually be able to see it, because as you might now, they disappear after a couple of seconds, which would just frustrate the user.

However, the real reason is this: the Skype codebase is horrible and Microsoft will be working really hard to revamp pretty much everything in the next few years.

How bad is it? According to our tipster (who quoted this guy) “Before putting full blame on Microsoft, remember that from the inside Skype is really a horrible piece of software terribly written and awful to the fullest. Its architecture and implementation is so horrible it makes programmers scream in the night. That’s why it is not updated evenly on all the platforms; some versions are older than others by a year or more.

The story is quite ugly. I don’t know all the bits, but to get you started, they wrote it in Delphi. Then, of course they found out they cannot port this f-thing anywhere and thus for Mac they invented completely different codebase not sharing a single line of code with the original. With the latest UI revamp I believe they finally departed from Delphi but the things still is a mess.

I have a friend-insider in MS, he says it took longer than they expected to port it to WP7 because damn thing was unstable, crashing all the time. The last bit I cannot prove of course, but that’s what I heard personally.”

So this is why, thankfully, Microsoft has a lot of talented engineers that will fix everything sooner or later.

  • http://windowsphonedaily.com/ Saad Hashmi

    Nice write up and thanks for the link. I’m very irritated that the Skype app just lacks so many common sense features, but this does help explain why.

  • http://twitter.com/hurrdedurp123 s

    Revamp it in “years”? That’s too long. They’ve got til the end of this year to fix their stuff.

  • http://pcfriki.com/ Ian Cavalcanti

    Well, the Skype app for iOS works pretty well, and so the Windows version. It is true that the Mac and the Android version is quite unstable

  • http://twitter.com/danrivhor Daniel Rivero Horie

    I’m a programmer, and I can’t imagine how awful must be the code after reading the article, there’s nothing worst than modify someone else’s code but if you add the fact that the code is poorly written, oh gosh

  • tN0

    They announced a Skype app before the acquisition! And why couldn’t they provide support for that app? They are doing this with many other developers.

    Microsoft could have worked from day 1 on that app as a supporter for the Skype team and they even had the chance to implement a “backdoor” or “hack” into Mango to support a notification system for Skype.

    • In

      It wasn’t an announcement – in reality it was a UI mock-up. At the time they didn’t even start development.

  • TOMan

    Cannot view video while sending text message.. Wow Skype.. 

  • vanners

    Yeah, I’m not buying the story, it smells like political spin – “don’t blame us, it was the ousted party’s fault”. My bet is it was a botched port to .Net. Office had problems when it got .Netted too.