Has Skype Missed Out on the Mobile Opportunity?

After years of mobile missteps, Skype gives the iOS app a major overhaul -- but it might be too little, too late.


Let’s be honest, Skype mobile apps have always been mediocre. For years, users have reported a host of problems including poor call quality, login and sign out errors, dropped calls and more. And the very people experiencing the problems have been rooting for Skype from the beginning, only to abandon the app in frustration.

For iPhone users at least, there’s hope with the latest update delivering much needed improvements and a messaging-focused experience. According to The Next Web contributor Roberto Baldwin, Skype 5.0 for iOS reduces clutter, simplifying the messaging and calling functions.

“It no longer takes multiple taps to start a chat with a contact. Just tap on the contact and start typing,” he writes.

Baldwin also notes that the new focus on messaging puts Skype into an increasingly competitive field. Still, the biggest competition for Skype on mobile could be Google Hangouts, which has provided stable chat and video calling for quite some time. According to CIO contributor James A. Martin, Hangouts’ multi-party chat, multi-party screen sharing and free calls to landlines give Skype a run for its money.

Skype product manager Eric Levine doesn’t seem worried about the competition. He knows that most users have more than one messaging app and each comes with it’s own group of contacts. Baldwin isn’t so convinced.

“Even though Skype has been around forever, I found it difficult to find friends to chat with. That’s really the biggest hurdle for Skype. For many it’s been a way to video chat or call friends overseas,” he writes. “it might be too late to get them to use the ‘video conferencing app’ as a text messenger.”

Indeed, the market is already saturated with messaging apps. With so many missteps, only time will tell whether or not Skype has missed out on the mobile opportunity.