Skype: “We monitor customer feedback and adjust our product constantly”

Since Microsoft announced that Windows Live Messenger users would have to move to Skype, we’ve been receiving lots of comments from you.

It’s clear that Skype and Messenger share some features, but are also very different. Skype is primarily designed for voice and video calls, whereas Windows Live Messenger works best as a chat app. Even though Skype has some features Messenger doesn’t, it also doesn’t replace all the features of Messenger.

We contacted Skype for comment about your most 5 common complaints. You can read their responses, and our advice below.

How can I access my Hotmail through Skype? It was really easy through Messenger.

Many people are upset that when you’re signed into Skype, you don’t get email alerts. Even if you’re signed in with your Microsoft account, there’s no button or link in Skype that opens your email. This isn’t news to Skype users, but Hotmail and Messenger have always been tightly linked.

Skype responded, ‘we believe users will gain new functionality by using Skype… such as editing instant messages, conversation history and more.’

Currently you can’t get email alerts, or check your mail from Skype. But if enough people ask for it, they may add this in the future.

In Messenger I can appear offline, but in Skype you’re online to everyone and that’s it.

In this case, Skype is just different. You can appear ‘invisible’ in Skype, which is just the same. When you’re invisible you can still initiate and continue conversations with anyone you want.

Skype doesn’t support 3rd party apps like Pidgin or Trillian

Apps that let you sign in to multiple chat apps are pretty popular, but Skype doesn’t allow for this. These users will now need to use an additional app. Skype did not respond to this point, and it currently seems unlikely that they will open up to third party apps. So, whether it’s eBuddy, Trillian, Yoono or any other third party app, you won’t be able to use them for Messenger any more.

Instant messaging is not as easy

Skype was never primarily about instant messaging, and it’s simply not as well designed for multiple chats as more dedicated apps are. There’s no tabbed conversations, and the space in the interface is optimized for video calls.

Skype as a desktop instant messenger app simply isn’t very good. It’s possible that the switchover delay, until April 8th, will mean Skype can update with more of Messenger’s useful chat features.

I get plagued with unsolicited contact requests, which I continually have to block

Skype say, ‘you can manage your privacy settings by selecting Skype then privacy. In this menu you will be able to manage whether people outside your contact list can contact you using IM, video or calling.

So, you can block who talks to you, but not who sends you a contact request. Click on Skype, then Privacy, and then Show advanced options, and make sure your privacy settings are correct for you.

Skype’s contact directory means that you will be discoverable to other people, but you always have the option to turn down contact requests. Your profile details are not visible to anyone unless you accept them as a contact.

The decision to shut down Windows Live Messenger in favor of Skype is controversial, and so far neither Microsoft nor Skype have done enough to satisfy users concerns.

Skype says, ‘We regularly monitor… feedback and make adjustments in the product continually based on it.’ We hope this is not an empty promise, and that complaints from Windows Live Messenger users are heard.

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