Skype has floundered in recent years, among increased competition from services like WhatsApp, Hangouts, Discord, and others. In an effort to gain back market share, Microsoft has bloated the desktop and mobile apps with features like add-ons and Snapchat-like 'Highlights.' The Skype team is now flip-flopping, as it has announced a new focus on simplicity and usability.
"As Skype functionality has expanded, so too has its complexity. As with any feature rich product, maintaining simplicity while enhancing functionality is critical to usability," the team said in a blog post. "This past year we explored some design changes and heard from customers that we overcomplicated some of our core scenarios."
Skype v8.29, which is now rolling out on all platforms, removes the Highlights feature that was added about a year ago. Highlights were very similar to Snapchat Stories, and the team says they didn't "resonate with a majority of users." The bottom tab bar now only has three entries - chats, calls, and contacts.
The modern desktop Skype application (not the older Windows version that is being discontinued soon) is also being refreshed. The interface now more closely resembles older versions, with some gradients and decorative elements removed. A dark theme and 'classic' blue theme is also new.