Skype for Windows 8 available Oct 26th: moving to Messenger backend

skype 8 startA post on Skype’s official blog “The Big Blog”  announced today that Skype for Windows 8, a Metro/Modern/Windows 8 app, will be made available on October 26th, just in time for the launch of Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface RT.  Tom Warren at The Verge has had some hands on time with Skype for Windows 8, and talked to Derek Snyder about what Skype has been doing behind the scenes to get ready for the release:

“We’ve been relatively quiet since the acquisition,” says Skype’s Derek Snyder in a meeting with The Verge about Skype’s latest changes. “We have been silently re-architecting basically the entire way Skype works.”

“For the last six months or so we have been moving people to the Messenger backend,” says Snyder. “The big advantage there is that Skype doesn’t always have to be running. It wakes up when it’s time to deliver a chat message or call etc.” The changes also mean that around 80 percent of all IMs sent on Skype are sent over the new Messenger backend. Skype’s Windows 8 app is the first to take advantage of this new model, with updates coming to iOS and Android later to complete feature parity.

Skype has traditionally run on a P2P, or peer to peer, network, meaning that messages connect with each other via a network of Skype enabled computers, rather than the more traditional client-server-client approach that runs Messenger.  The change means that Skype will run in the background and will be “always reachable”, as detailed in the Skype blog post:

On Windows 8, you can be always available and reachable whether you are using a desktop, laptop, tablet or convertible PC with Skype running seamlessly in the background without draining your battery.

You’ll be able to receive voice and video calls and chats even if you’ve navigated away to another app or to the desktop, enabling you to stay more connected with your contacts whatever you’re doing. Skype for Windows 8 will notify you about new calls and instant messages so you’ll always know when someone is contacting you.


Skype released a video showing off quickly some of the capabilities of the new app:


The Skype app with be available from the Windows Store beginning October 26th.