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Skype contact lists may have been exposed (2017) (steverrobbins.com)
266 points by QUFB 41 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 129 comments



I never quite understood why Microsoft is so hell-bent on adding stupid features, removing useful ones and creating unwanted re-designs for Skype instead improving core features.

The new design is awful, they removed contact groups, something I used daily. Didn't they also experiment with stupid stories at one point? And now this. I'm surprised people were not mad about it a lot earlier, since it's been a while since they did this.

All in all, it seems very tone deaf, at least to me.


> I never quite understood why Microsoft is so hell-bent on adding stupid features, removing useful ones and creating unwanted re-designs for Skype instead improving core features.

I'm looking forward to a Microsoft insider's exposé on what really happened inside the Skype team to destroy such a beloved product. It was indeed loved in its pre-Microsoft heyday around 2008-2010: I remember an international student telling me that Skype changed her life because she could stay in audio & video contact with her family overseas.

Since the Microsoft acquisition, every single aspect of Skype has gotten worse. It's remarkable that if Microsoft had done nothing with Skype other than simply keeping it up-to-date with new releases of Windows, OS X, Linux, etc., it would be a far superior product.

As far as I can tell, only two things keep it alive: the tremendous installed base from when it was a much esteemed program and the fact that it runs on everything -- making it the common denominator when the grumpy Windows desktop guy needs to video chat with the hipster on the newest iPad Pro. :-).


> I'm looking forward to a Microsoft insider's exposé

I interviewed there, soon after the acquisition, maybe nine months. Probably one of the most shocking experiences in many aspects: they flew me from Europe, no one was ready to talk to me, or knew I was coming at all. I waited more than an hour, thought about leaving, hoping they wouldn’t mind paying for my hotel room and flight either way. Then someone who I recognised from their LinkedIn photo passed me, I said hi—they were surprised and thought the interview wasn’t happening.

I had three interviews from people at most three months out of university (nothing but the same two brain-teasers); overall, the place seemed like completely lacking self-awareness. I had lunch with the only person with any experience, the UX researcher/ethnographer (six months out of post-doc) who was… way over everything. Chosen quotes: “Children running a daycare”, “the entitlement is staggering”, she was happy because that paid way better than academia and she could learn about private research, save money, go to meet-ups and interview.

I liked the lunch because I had tried to make my joke during the interview, one about how Skype allows me to get three alerts about the birthday of a recruiter with whom I had an awkward 20-min chat six years ago (wink, wink: I care about users’ experience too). Blank stare from Chad. The UX researcher got it. It wasn’t funny, but at least I felt like I had pushed my bug report at the edge of my ability zone.

I didn’t get a call-back. I was stranded for six months on an email chain with the recruitment coordinator who was only able to reimburse me with a paper check in dollars (I had bank accounts in four different currencies at that point but not dollars). I honestly think that I got so tired of it all that I just forgot… Or maybe I ended up cashing it at pennies on the dollar because my bank had pity on me.

Anyway, a couple of years later, a new colleague at Facebook joins from there. The guy spent his first three months listing all the terrible, terrible things he saw there. Just new ways of being broken, every day over lunch, for a hundred days. I was impressed. That guy isn’t shy. Not sure he’s a great writer, but there was a lot to be learned there.


My experience was similar if somewhat more organised - multiple interviews over an extended period of time, before a trip to their office where no one seemed to realise I was there to be interviewed.

I ended up having lunch with the HR person, who was fairly scathing about the whole thing.

Got an offer - which looked fine, until I realised they had me down to work in another city despite all conversations being about working at the site and with the team closest to me.


Just a heads up that your interview quotes probably come with enough info to uniquely identify the person who was that open with you. Might want to return the favor with some anonymity...


Good shout. I’m actually modified one irrelevant detail in my portrait to prevent that (I always do: it helps identify leaks-- a paranoid habit that I got from working with unreliable people).

But then again, I’d be shocked if those had any consequences: she was probably gone under a month, both quotes were based on staggering observations as we were sitting there. The place acted like recess at a middle-school.


> Not sure he’s a great writer, but there was a lot to be learned there.

Would you broadcast here some of the main points he made? Like what's the roots of the all that were.


Honestly, nothing original, just the sheer amount of it was impressive:

- technical debt “so high you could open a central bank” was my favourite quote: he gave implementation details, but it’s hard enough to grasp a working schema, a broken one is just confusing: no indices, bottlenecks everywhere, no monitoring… It was less the individual set-up than the successive obviously inappropriate solutions. Not “queries to this table are slow, let’s factor it, but without checking the query pattern”-bad, more “like let’s host it on a third party service, with incompatible technology, located on a different continent, and edit it 100 times more often” bad.

- every executive decision was going the opposite direction of what anyone could possibly want; so much so that my concerns over usability felt like complaining about the shade of paint after a bomb went off;

- lack of maturity of the team came up a lot; also how arrogant and absent the managers were; he mentioned someone in particular that had completely different architectural ideas every time you saw him. That particular rant has serious racist undertones.

- the product was split in two, or a company was acquired, and they kept the worst code to impose it on others, or only work on the corporate offering… Honestly, I don’t know. It just felt unredeemable.

I asked if I should actively try to work with people who had gone through this because of how much they learned or avoid anyone because they sounded not very self-aware. He clearly advertised for the later. He even said that he edited his own CV to hide that he was ever there. Last time I checked, he’s got a really vague “project at Microsoft as a contractor” there.


This is disturbing.

Satya, are you there?


He is busy pushing code to overwrite users' font preferences and install multigigabyte updates...


Got my parents a Skype camera that plugged into the Sony TV. The best way to stay in touch with them. They didn't even need to know to operate a smartphone. A few years later - the TV app was disabled, Skype on the phone doesn't stay logged in, call drops, the interface is confusing and we have moved on to FaceTime and WhatsApp now. They took a great product and decimated it.


To be fair this was probably Sony. I bought one of their smart TVs and they canned the YouTube app on it after six months. Plus it was slow as molasses.

I’ve only owned a cheap ass dumb bottom end Samsung TV since and life is better.


It was indeed Microsoft. They disabled for all brands. I had the same problem at the time with my Samsung TV.

Ref: https://techcrunch.com/2016/03/08/skype-is-killing-its-smart...


Same here, although I got one of those webcams with a built-in Skype client, for my old parents. Now it's a useless prop. My phone (non-Android, non-Apple) came with a fully integrated Skype app, something I haven't seen anywhere else. That's dead too of course. Good job, MS. I'll buy your products.. not.


Gah. That's just horrible.

There should be a minimum supported period of 6 years for all software on smart TVs, the consequences of which are full refund of the initial purchase price of the TV. That'd kill this shit overnight.


I'm inclined to agree, I'm on my second flagship TV in 7 years, the first, A Samsung OLED 3D Smart TV had most of its apps killed within 2-3 years, I'm now on an LG, WebOS so not many apps to start with, but I see this going the same way soon.

I'd love to be able to just not have all of the "smart" features that they kill well within the lifespan of the TV and instead offload them to an external box.

At least the Samsung didn't have huge Netflix, Amazon etc buttons on the remote, like the LG, which will end up doing nothing some day.


[flagged]


The problem is if you want a 4K tv from Sony, Samsung, LG, or Vizio you'd be hard pressed to find any that are not some variation of a "smart" tv. You could go back to 1080 and find some dumb TVs still but then you're losing out on the HDR support.


First of all, it's not obvious to most lay people. Second, I wouldn't have a problem if that was the reason stuff stopped working, but if Smart TV makers / sellers explicitly advertise certain apps, those apps damn well better have a decent life. I bought mine and days later my favorite Roku app (Spotify) decided to shut down that app for something like a year. Nothing to do with hardware advancements, they just made an intentional decision to de-prioritize a device I had already been sold and it didn't keep up.


Fair points and totally agree. I was dumb enough (I would use the same words!) to buy one the first time round so I agree with you.


I have a high end QLED Samsung TV. Horrible, horrible. Audio over HDMI does not work. Had to use optical cable to receiver. Apps hang and have to be reinstalled to recover them, or power yanked at wall socket. It randomly switches from TV or Netflix/Plex app to "HDMI2" or whatever when watching a movie. Doesn't matter if using an external device like an Apple TV - so you can't even treat it like a dumb display, which was my fallback for my previous "Smart" Philips TV. (It only had horribly slow UI, but was stable.)

The panel is top notch. QLED to me is a perfect balance between the over-saturated colors of OLED, and the gray blacks of LED.

But Samsung and software... it never works. Sync photos from Android phone to PC? Oh, the PC software only does 1000 photos at a time. Then you must delete 1000 photos and start over, rinse repeat. That's 22 times if you are helping a friend backup a few years of photos.

Each time I encounter a Samsung device with "smart" anything in it, I think, no it must be OK this time. It can't be that so disparate divisions all produce crappy code, over the more than a decade now I've been following them. But yes. Every. Fucking. Time.


This is the reason I went LG this time, my Samsung TV has all of the issues you're describing.

The LG is marginally better but it still has issues with audio over ARC and figuring out when to switch on the surround amp and when not to. It'll also randomly switch back to the ARC input if something connected gives it a nudge, while I'm doing something else.

I bought high-end in both cases and it really makes you grit your teeth to realise they can't get this right even at the prices you're paying.


Gosh, the more recent microsoft acquisitions (e.g. linkedin, github, etc) won't suffer the same fate, right?


I think a company would have to be pretty innovative to make linkedin worse.

I already had a Gitlab account from years ago because they had free private repos. So it was easy to move everything of mine over after the acquisition.


> I think a company would have to be pretty innovative to make linkedin worse.

You might want to sit down for this one. This just came in yesterday.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/11/linkedin-debuts-linkedin-l...

> This week, the company is launching live video, giving people and organizations the ability to broadcast real-time video to select groups, or to the LinkedIn world at large.

> Launching in beta first in the U.S., LinkedIn Live (as the product is called) will be invite-only. In coming weeks, LinkedIn will also post a contact form for others who want to get in on the action. It’s not clear when and if LinkedIn will make it possible for everyone to create LinkedIn Live videos, but if you consider how it developed its publishing features for written work, that will come later, too.

> Initial live content that LinkedIn hopes to broadcast lines up with the kind of subject matter you might already see in LinkedIn’s news feed: the plan is to cover conferences, product announcements, Q&As and other events led by influencers and mentors, office hours from a big tech company, earnings calls, graduation and awards ceremonies and more.

> And to underscore how LinkedIn is keen to develop this — especially in its first phase — not as rough-and-ready user-generated content, but as streams of the kinds of videos that fit with its wider ethos, it has selected several third-party developers of live broadcasting streaming services that creators will work with to create and post more polished live video on LinkedIn.


LinkedIn would deserve it though.


I took a final look at Linkedin some weeks ago.. hadn't logged in in ages. Totally useless, never-ending scrolling pages, tried to look like FB I guess. No informational content anywhere. So I deleted my account. Something I've had in mind since MS bought it. The updated layout was the final nail in the coffin. No more Linkedin for me, and definitely nothing to miss.


Eh. Both of my last two jobs were through LinkedIn, so if nothing else, it’s worth it for that. Having said that, the social features are fairly useless, and other than when I’ve been actively searching for jobs, I don’t really use it.


I’m not sure you could make LinkedIn worse if you tried.


Linked also suffered the same fate. They pushed it so hard for it to be a mainstream social media for professionals. Problem is that no one wants to use it as such.


LinkedIn did it to themselves long before MS got involved.


I remember LinkedIn Answers as having real potential - there was the germ of something a bit StackExchange-esque there. I used to go in and help people out and ended up getting a client or two through this organic kind of networking.

So they killed it.


Yes but still Microsoft pushed a new inferior UI a few months after acquisition. So bad it motivates me to finally publish myself my résumé online. Linked UI was corrected a bit afterwards to make it a bit less sucky but it still.. sucks.


Sort feed by date -> OK. But the setting is not retained. Terrible.


Not to mention Skype is also getting slower and slooower. Voice latency has increased from what it used to be before Microsoft. Can't send large files directly anymore. It recompresses sent images destroying the quality. Video call image quality is low, nowhere near HD even with gigabit internet. Memory consumption has ballooned.

Desktop Skype: No more narrow width chat windows, so useful for preserving desktop space. Very bad use of space for chats. Find feature is unusably slow for large chat logs. Even selecting another chat contact has noticeable latency before window contents update!

I think I could just go on and on. It's horrible. I seriously need a replacement.

I can think of just one thing that has improved: online/away indication is more reliable now.

It's so sad what Microsoft has done to Skype. I wonder if this is a some kind of experiment how bad the product can be before long time users switch.


On the other hand, Google makes great chat products, polishes then for years, then discontinues them. Everyone's crazy.


> Everyone's crazy.

Indeed.

None of the chat messaging platforms interoperate. Chat should be like email, but everyone just wants to push their proprietary app consuming battery power and storage.


The golden age of chat was back when you could use one client to talk to all your friends despite them being on ICQ, AIM, MSN, IRC or half a dozen smaller networks.


Trillian! It was nice to use a single client for ICQ, MSN and others.

Universal availability and plain one-to-one & group chat removes most of the issues. Less important to support things like file transfer, voice chat, etc.

Who could combine Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Hangouts, Discord, Microsoft Teams/Skype for Business, etc. and do it in such a fashion I can trust it.

Damn, I don't like government regulation, and when it comes to chat I'm frankly scared — I don't think they could resist the urge of adding backdoors in the process. But who else could put some pressure on the vendors to get these things to interoperate?


Adium for the Mac folks! The website is still there (https://adium.im/) but the version history page is an error and the product blurb talks about AIM support, so I'm guessing it's dead.


Chat will never be interoperable because then vendors wouldn't be able to introduce their own exclusive emojis or GIFs or stories or whatever other nonsense.


Chat will never be interoperable as long as it's controlled by for-profit companies.


I think this is the craziest part. Got fed up with your client? Well, you should wait until all your important contacts are fed up with it as well.

I can't believe I have to use a client as bad as Skype.


I thought they were yet undecided on killing hangouts? They've been dragging their feet on finalizing a data for sunset.


The single thing I use Skype for, still, is calling phone numbers. Because their support for that has much better coverage than anyone else, world-wide. And the Skype-in number my wife has works reasonably well too. For everything else (talk, video chat, files, albums, groups, etc. etc. etc) I don't use Skype.


They had the goto platform with MSN then they shut it down. Then they had Skype and as much as I try to like Microsoft and not hate on them and say they screwed thing up when it just feels like a meme to say so:

They totally ruined Skype. I dont use it anymore. I think my first issue was skids getting my IP without effort.

On MSN one somewhat similar though not as critical annoyance was locking people out of logging on to their account by brute forcing the login instead of banning the IP from logging on they punished the actual owner of the account.

Back to Skype... Then they ruined sync on Mobile. You login to your phone and it stalls because instead of pulling in as many messages as you can scroll up one pages worth or only the unread ones, they wanted to pull in the whole chat history like a blockchain update which put Skype to its crawl.

Now they have teams and I would love to use that. It looks awesome but its a little late Microsoft. I guess new Microsoft centered shops will use it. Slack and co are rooted into businesses now instead.

Skype was fine before Microsoft sad to say. Dear Microsoft: stop screwing up Skype.


They're now ending support for the web based client and replacing it with a preview version with HD video and call recording that only works in Chrome and Edge. Welcome back to the 90's "best viewed in IE".


I hear people say this, and all I'm thinking is "why did they have to break msn messenger for this heap of shit?"


The fact they removed the "away" status is annoying enough without the app crashing randomly


> I'm surprised people were not mad about it a lot earlier, since it's been a while since they did this.

Not really mad, they're just moving to zoom for this and several other reasons. Skype is kept as legacy for some contact or a backup solution.


People have been mad at Skype many years already if you follow forums on the net. When people get mad enough they search alternatives and then Skype isn't a problem any more.


I don't know what is their market share but I think the google trend chart is pretty explicit

https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=s...

Acquisition in 2012.


Wasn't it acquired in 2011?


Correct, sorry


Sound theory, but it's been 8 years since the acquisition and Skype is still very much a problem!


Yes, it's good in market theory. Reality is sadly different even on the open market.


Most software companies end up doing this in the long run... Even Firefox is not immune. My guess as to why this happens is that all those engineers need something to do/something to show for (AKA fix what's not broken)... and I can't really blame them... I just wish that it would be possible to keep 2 branches of any given software; one with only security patches, and one with feature and security patches.


>>I never quite understood why Microsoft is so hell-bent on adding stupid features, removing useful ones and creating unwanted re-designs for Skype instead improving core features.

Maybe it's all relative. Others may find them useful. I would guess that they test and ask about before making changes to billion dollar programs.


Youd be surprised. I have worked with some large multinational companies that do zero testing before making product changes.


Same. People think some very big, much-fawned-over companies do comprehensive usability studies... when they basically don't do ANY.


Is there an open source alternative?


I have to agree on this one. I am my mother’s only Skype contact. When she started receiving friend suggestions she quickly worked out that those people were my friends. Luckily it’s my mother we’re talking about and I don’t mind her seeing those contacts, but what if it was someone else? For example I have seen the practice of creating an ad-hoc Skype account for an interview. Now that employer can see my contacts.


Haha yeah I can see all my financial partner’s clients now, I was just looking at that yesterday


Oh man, sales teams must be a mess right now. I can't imagine the poaching that's going on!


I used skype extensively in its pre-Microsoft era as pretty much all the academics i know. It was synonymous of exciting discussions with collaborators. It had something special which set it apart from usual calls. A kind of special space for discussions.

Last time i used it it took me a day to figure out what my username was. Had to search forums, ask on the internet, and finally navigate the awful microsoft website back and forth to finally find a childish live:xxxxq122 username (MS blocked my 10+ years account because it didnt like the date of birth i provided in a hurry. I was “too young” to use the service). I have no idea now what happened to basic things like a contact list. The new interface should be studied in design schools on all the things that shouldn’t be done.

I find myself using whatsapp or gtalk for meetings now. Having to call collaborators using the same device/service i use with my family. Thanks Microsoft.


This is going to be "fun" for all the psychologists and other doctors meeting people over Skype. MS really failed here.


This is pretty egregious. Is this possibly illegal? I certainly did not consent.


You probably did consent, it would be somewhere in the terms and conditions you accepted without reading them.

This may be against GDPR in Europe, but may not, because everyone they are suggesting has agreed to Skype's term at some point.


My understanding was that you can't sign away your GDPR rights just by accepting a ToS.


Correct - there has to be a clear indication that you are consenting. It can't just be hidden away in a 60 page document in a statement that says "I consent to being tracked, etc".


AIUI GDPR requires explicit consent, not just "we tricked you, ha ha" consent.


I stopped using Skype when they built a backdoor for the Chinese government.

That and a few other very poor experiences with the service, including some very questionable security issues.

Frankly, I hope it does off.


This is a big stain in the 'new MS' (really it's just the old MS) and we should hold Satya to account on this one.

It's mind boggling how so much money and so many 'smart' Engineers could just run a product into the ground.

Skype needs to be analyzed for why it's such a product failure.

My guess: it's mostly driven by strategic objectives (i.e. downloads, revenues) and the Engineers may care, but that 'user experience' is not a primary concern.

It blows my mind how Google, MS and others don't yet grasp this, and how even 'changing interfaces' has a considerable usability cost.

We use ZOOM now for most things, it's very reliable, but the interface is kind of weird.


> My guess: it's mostly driven by strategic objectives (i.e. downloads, revenues) and the Engineers may care, but that 'user experience' is not a primary concern.

Bingo. Everyone is focused on one part of that platform and nobody owns the experience as a whole. So the overall experience suffers.


I never assume a deep level of security for any Microsoft product. Fortunately, who my Skype contacts are isn't particularly sensitive. (I wouldn't choose Skype as a platform for anything sensitive.)


_security_ is ok, this is privacy.


Privacy is part of security. I think what you mean is the integrity is OK.


tomato - tomato. They are all the same thing to me. We still don't want others to see our sensitive or whatever info we own.


The story states there is no way to opt out but in preferences / contacts / privacy there is the option "Appear in suggestions" which I assume solves this but should have been opt-in.

My grief with Skype goes deep, not to mention Skype for Business and the idiotic impossibility of adding contacts between S4B and Skype.


That Skype for Business and Skype are two totally un-interoperable things is inexcusable.


They have been interoperable for quite a while now: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/skypeforbusiness/set-up-sky...


you can do one-on-ones but you cannot add skype free users to a skype for business conference call. We're using Skype for Business and this limitation is very frustrating.

On the bottom of your link:

  Not available with Skype contacts  
  ----------------------------------
  Multi-party IM conversations
  Audio and video conversations with three or more people
  Desktop and program sharing


So, what can we do (in general) to stop this sort of "making stuff shittier" effect that seems inherent in Western Capitalism. Very rich, very successful companies buy products and make them worse -- what's the patch for that? Is there anything beyond government regulation, or "consumer buying power"?


Are Skype for Business and Skype even related to each other? I always thought Skype for Business was just Lync with a Skype-like theme.


Seems like it, which is why they really shouldn't have renamed it.


That only protects you, but not your contacts.


It doesn't protect you from third parties finding out who you are in contact with unless your contacts opt out, not you.


Can we get a list of Skype alternatives going? I feel like it's time to dump the corporate behemoth mess.


Just like IRC is the little-known open alternative to the usual IM networks, the closest to Skype would probably be SIP (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Session_Initiation_Protocol ), for which many clients are available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_SIP_software


The article mentions 2 alternatives:

> I recommend http://zoom.us or http://appear.in as alternatives that don’t “help” you by exposing your contacts to the world.


zoom app on MacOS requires root permissions. No, thank you.


I don't think we can call landlines via these.


I have used Skype a lot for calling landlines and mobile phone numbers, in particular for people overseas where the phone bill would otherwise be high. I have also used this when I have zero phone reception but have access to Wifi.


I'm from Europe and I'm baffled that this would be a requirement for anyone these days. Are landlines still that common in the US?


I'm from Europe and I've occasionally used this feature when e.g. I'd lost my phone, but needed to make a call to a customer service department.


they are very commonly used for robocalls/junk calls



It feels almost inevitable that all the major platforms will get compromised in some way, especially as they grow in features and thus attack surface. I can only imagine the magnitude and persistence of attacks on these kinds of platforms. Even if it's possible for them to be technically sound, all it takes is a bad human to spoil all the hard engineering work.

I wouldn't trust sensitive data on any of them, and with the way advertising tech and governments treat privacy, I'm not sure technology has a bright future in that regard. I would sooner write down a secret on a piece of paper and lock it in a drawer than keep them on a computer.

It's much more practical to have retractable, replaceable secrets, so that you have agency over an inevitable leak of that secret. The way credit card companies handle breaches is a great example, they are very sympathetic to the fact that cards get stolen.

I don't lead a particularly interesting life, so it's not really going to stop me from using computers, but on principal it's not very good that we can't trust the devices in our pockets.


This started with the preview version like 1 month ago. I immediately removed the new setting as I noticed the suggestions popping up.

These changes should be opt-in.


no, it's much older, the osx skype redesign included this and that was more than a year ago (i don't know about windows). when i installed it, it suggested as a contact the mother of one of my colleagues. there's nothing in common between us, she even lives on a different country.


I opened the iPhone app, went to setting, turned it off. Then back out and in ... and it’s on again.

Tried several more times - it shows “off” when clicked, but back on when I re-enter. I will try again from a desktop when I am next to one.

I assume it’s incompetence rather than malice, but.... understandably, incompetence never works for the users, only against them.


When Microsoft switched Skype to Microsoft accounts I've lost 2/3 of my contacts list. I had valuable contacts in it that were just gone.

Afterwards I contacted their support twice and both times I ended up talking with somebody that tried to convince me that it was my fault ("you must have created a second account"). I understand that this actually happens in the real world but after talking with support the second time with no result, I just gave up.

And then I stopped using Skype, convinced my colleagues too, we switched to Slack, Hangouts, Zoom, whatever.

Interestingly Microsoft has good support for other products. E.g. I contacted them twice about bugs in OneDrive and in both cases I received a prompt acknowledgement that the issue exists and then afterwards acknowledgement that it was fixed.

But the experience with Skype was just terrible. When people accuse them of running Skype into the ground, I tend to agree.


While I agree this is terrible, what is different about Facebook harvesting information to send "People You May Know" invite emails? Wasn't that far worse since it didn't even require that a person signup for Facebook? Couldn't the same correlations be driven as the author of this post discussed?


Why would it be ok, because someone did it before?


People use Skype to talk to doctors, psychiatrists, potential future employers etc, which presumably they're less likely to do using Facebook.


After 15 years as a customer, yesterday was the last day of my last Skype subscription.

So long to the random designs, dropping calling features, horrible connections and barely-human customer support. You won't get another penny from me unless/until you do a 180.


What's the alternative service you're going to use now?


Surprisingly: Viber. Viber Out works great for calling out to 50 countries, and most text communication is on eMail/Slack/iMessage/etc

It's been a few days of Viber and already I see several pluses:

* Putting a call on speaker takes one tap and doesn't hang my phone, unlike Skype which pops up the native iOS sound output device chooser for some reason.

* Easy to see call history & times under a given contact (Skype did a weird center-aligned thing that made the information super-difficult for human eyes to parse)

* Easy to edit contact name info (Skype made this like 5 menus deep)

* Easy to set/remove contacts as favorites (Skype hid this somewhere new every few weeks)


A few months ago (shortly before GDPR) there were reports of company accounts being locked out of Skype because of age restrictions. Some people had normal, personal accounts which they used for business purposes with the birthdate set to the company's founding date. Then GDPR came in and you had to be over 16 or 18 to use Skype or your account required parental verification. To do this, you had to link the supposed child's account with the parent's. Of course, the paren't account had to have a credit card linked or undergo some Microsoft verification by sending an ID scan. Most people decided to go with the second option, as they didn't have or want to link a credit card with Microsoft. Of course, that verification took days, especially when so many users requested it, and for all that time they didn't have access to Skype, Office 365, Mail etc. I can provide a source (in polish) if anyone is interested. Of course, those restrictions didn't really work out for most (real) children as most people are already used to automatically provide a birthdate that's over 18.


Skype was on of those things your average salesperson could use, without any IT interaction.

Microsoft ruined it when they introduced Skype for business, which isn't even the same thing? How confusing.

Andreesen Horowitz must have been laughing all the way to the bank.


If it wasn't for the fact that Skype is one of the products that tends to work in China without interruptions (as opposed to Hangouts), I'd have deleted my account there long back.


Can anyone provide a screenshot on how the suggest feature looks? I'm trying to find it on Skype for Mac but no luck. Just for Windows still?


At this point, it might just be easier to report on sites that -haven't- been exposed. (If there are any.)


No timestamp, when was this article posted?



Judging by the Microsoft link in TFA, this should be (2017).

Also, I can't help wondering what changes they will be making to this "feature" to accommodate California's new CCPA...


It indeed seems to be from 2017 (if <meta> tags on this page are accurate).


Thanks! We've updated the headline.


Sounds like you're using a consumer version of a product and wondering why it has consumer features.

It would however be interesting to see how Skype for Pro's (read: Business) handles this suggestion feature.


Skype for Business does not have a contact suggestion feature.

It's also a completely separate product. Skype is to Skype for Business as Visual Studio is to Visual Studio Code.



And before that: Office Communicator.

They really are distinct products, it's "skype" by name only.

Office Communicator/Lync/SfB is really designed for companies to run themselves, there's tangential support for federation (as in, it exists, but it's a complete and utter nightmare for administering) there's no support for blocking contacts and by default the entire "local" directory is available. In fact, I'm not even sure if you can configure it not to expose all your users to every other user.

It's a /completely/ different product, that fact cannot be understated.


I wonder how they thought that it was a good idea to capitalize on a brand that they previously damaged beyond recognition.


Skype for business is now being folded into Microsoft teams, in fact, by default, Skype for business users, will have teams shadow installed on their machines, unless their admins make and effort to stop it.

I'd say they are probably going to draw a hard line between them, perhaps so they can experiment with more public features like this.

"LinkedIn integration in the Office web apps will gradually start rolling out in the coming months for Office 365 users and to Outlook on the web users who have opted in to the new Outlook on the web, and world-wide availability will come in 2019."


they're pushing something else now: microsoft teams. looks like a combination of google wave and hipchat.


My company suddenly jumped to Office 365 recently. We now have to use the "Mobile" versions of all Office apps (they don't even appear in the Windows Store search for me). It feels like a preschool version of an actual Office Suite.

We've been testing Teams for a week and nobody has used it ever since. It doesn't delivers a message and then it disappear; the calls often work only one-way. To use it on Linux, you have to fake your user-agent. It's laughably bad.


You can use it on linux with Chrome, not Chromium, and Firefox, but only from the website and not from your distribution. This may relieve the hassle of faking your user-agent.


I exclusively use Chromium or privacy-oriented forks on my devices, so I'll be sticking to the user-agent faking for now. Thanks for the clarification though!


to be honest though. I loved google wave


I assume most people who still use Skype use the consumer version.




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