Microsoft readies a universal Skype app for Windows 10

It'll eventually scale to Windows 10 Mobile too.

Microsoft is developing a new version of Skype that works across all Windows 10 devices, including desktop PCs, tablets and smartphones. At the moment, it's called the rather convoluted "Skype Universal Windows Platform Preview," and will be available to Windows Insiders in the coming weeks. The first build will be focused on the desktop and include most of Skype's usual features, such as group chats, one-to-one voice and video calls. Group voice and video calling are noticeably absent, but Microsoft has promised to add them "in the next couple of releases."

The app will eventually replace the Skype "integration" that Microsoft has been working on for Windows 10. A consumer preview of this was released last November, unbundling video and messaging into two separate apps. Microsoft has reconsidered its approach, however, and will now take a different tack: "As the screen size gets bigger — large tablets, two in ones and PCs, for example — and you begin to use the apps, expectations shift and people want to limit app clutter," the Skype team said in a blog post. That led to a single purpose app with a "simplified" look and feel.

The existing Skype apps for Windows 10 will still be available, for now. Microsoft wants to "streamline" its desktop experiences, however, and says it will slowly bundle them all into its new universal app. The new version doesn't look all that different, but its underlying code is important because it'll eventually scale to Windows 10 Mobile too. If Microsoft's smartphone platform is ever going to take off, a decent Skype app is a must.