Microsoft is throwing its weight behind Microsoft Teams as a messaging, collaboration, video, and voice platform. Recently the company released a consumer version of Teams, leaving some question marks over the long-term viability of Skype. Microsoft insists it remains committed to Skype and has released a new update to prove the point.
For Skype version 8.60, Microsoft has released one of the largest updates for the app in some time. Furthermore, the update is rolling out to all supported platforms. Leading the features is a 3×3 grid for video calls. Skype now supports up to nine participants on a call at one time. This feature was previously released on Teams.
It is worth noting the 3×3 grid is limited to desktop versions of Skype. All other features in the version 8.60 work across desktop and mobile.
Including support for moderated groups. With this tool, users can create a group and select participants as administrators. When an admin is assigned, only they can start calls and perform other tasks. Existing groups with assigned roles will be automatically transitioned to moderated groups.
Below is the full changelog for Skype version 8.60, including customized message reactions:
- All the best reactions: Sometimes you need the perfect reaction at your fingertips, and now you can customize which ones appear in the reaction picker. Learn how to add custom reactions to your reaction picker.
- Just like that old TV show: Now you can see nine participants with video on your screen at one time. Learn how to switch to 3×3 mode.
- Who's in charge around here? Need to create a group with defined moderators and users, like a classroom? Try creating a Moderated Group.
- Just a key-press (or three) away: We've added some new global hotkeys you can use even when Skype is minimized. Learn more about keyboard shortcuts.
- Bug fixes and stability improvements. We sent some bugs packing and swept up after ourselves.
Certainly, there is a reason to believe consumer Microsoft Teams could one day consume Skype. We already seen this happen in enterprise. Skype for Business was folded into Teams and will shutter permanently in 2021. So far, Microsoft says it has no plans for regular Skype to follow a similar path.
However, it is worth remembering it seems the integration between the services is already underway. Microsoft has confirmed Teams and Skype will tap into each other, although that move has been delayed until June. Will Skype continue to bleed into Teams and eventually disappear? Microsoft says no, I have my doubts.