Skype is undergoing a major upgrade that will refresh the look and add several new features to both text and video chat, Business Insider reports. The video chat application hasn't gotten a major new feature or a significant redesign since 2006.
With the upgrade, chat will become a much bigger part of Skype, with bots, games and new video chat features designed to allow people to share things more easily.
The upgrade is already available to Android devices, according to the report. Updates to the iOS, Windows, and Mac apps will occur later this year. The update applies to the consumer version of Skype, not Skype for Business.
Given the pace at which tech is changing, it’s surprising that Microsoft has not changed Skype much at all in over 10 years. But it could also be a case of "if it’s not broke, don’t fix it." Skype has been very successful, downloaded more than a billion times on smartphones alone, Business Insider reports.
But Skype is also seeing strong competition from younger rival Facebook Messenger and other apps. And given that Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion in 2012, the company likely doesn’t want to get left behind or to put that investment at risk by appearing too dated.
While Skype is also used heavily in the enterprise, this refresh only affects the consumer version. But with consumer models undergoing a major overhaul, it is likely an enterprise update is not far behind. The more consumer-like features that can be implemented into the enterprise version of products, the more seamless the user experience — and user adoption — will be.