Back in March, we reported on a rumor suggesting Microsoft was considering transitioning its Skype app from React Native to Electron. This week, Microsoft has confirmed Electron is now underpinning the Skype application across platforms.
The change was introduced with Skype version 8.61 across platforms. This update also adds a couple of new features, including the 3×3 grid for 9 participants during a video call. Furthermore, users can now share files directly from File Explorer.
Elsewhere, other new tools have been added. For example, moderated chats are now available, while users can also change their background.
However, the biggest change is what’s happening under the hood of Skype. You may remember Microsoft embraced Facebook’s React Native on Skype back in 2018 and seemingly abandoned Electron. While some saw it as a shift away from UWP, Microsoft insisted it was committed to its Universal Windows Platform.
With this release, Skype app users across platforms can update to version 8.61. However, on Windows 10 there are two concurrent versions. Users on Microsoft’s platform will see the new Skype listed as version 15.61. This is the exact same update as on other platforms.
- Updated close options so you can quit Skype or stop it from starting automatically
- Improved Tray icon, informing you about new messages and presence status
- Share files directly from your File Explorer
- 9 videos in a video call
- Background Replacement
- Moderated Chats
- Meet Now Improvements
- Improved Call Controls
As it is now based on Electron, the Skype app is also missing some features you’d find on the web. Among them is the ability to use Windows 10 share and to sync with contacts from the Windows People app.