Now you can Skype without Skype, but Microsoft hopes you’ll stick around.
For millions, Skype remains the go-to VoIP app for messaging and communication. But millions more use WhatsApp or Google Hangouts or another solution. For them, Skype has a new option: initiating a Skype session via a direct link.
It’s pretty simple: Users of Skype for Windows, Skype for Mac, or Skype for the Web will soon be able to send friends a link. Once they accept it, they’ll be able to launch Skype from the web and join the conversation. Also, if you have a Skype name and a Skype mobile app, you can share a conversation link from Skype for iPhone, iPad and Android just by clicking the link.
Skype said the new link-sharing feature should be live now within the United States, and should be live throughout the rest of the world in a few weeks. Sharing a mobile conversation will be added “soon,” Microsoft said.
Skype has already added features, such as its universal translator, in a bid to lure users to the Skype app. It’s also added conveniences to its Web apps, to entice users to adopt Office. If you use Outlook.com, for example, and receive a Word file, it will open in the Word Online app.
Why this matters: Microsoft hasn’t specified the number of Skype users it has—only that Skype users talk for 3 billion minutes per day. But it’s clear that a number of other mobile apps have challenged Skype’s supremacy. What Skype has done is pretty trivial on one level, but it’s a convenience that could convince users to stay.