VOICE OVER IP (VoIP) provider Microsoft has executed a partial U-turn on its decision to block third-party apps from its Skype IP telephony service at the end of the year.
Originally, it had told developers that all third-party Skype desktop API apps would be terminated by the time they scoffed the first chocolate from their advent calendar.
However, following an outcry from developers and the public leading to a petition, Microsoft has announced a reprieve for hardware and call and chat recording software developed and maintained by third parties. It said these will continue to be temporarily supported until a suitable alternative is found.
The decision was taken as Microsoft moves to a more mobile led infrastructure for Skype, and it said that the present API "doesn't support mobile application development". In the Skype blog today, it explained, "The extensibility model of running only on one type of end point needs to evolve to benefit from this new design pattern."
But, although headsets and call records will survive for now, support for Skype chat will end as planned, so third party chat programs that include Skype will no longer be able to. With more and more companies opting for exclusive and proprietary protocols for their messenger programs, this has to be seen as a step backwards.
Google Hangouts has moved away from the Yammer standard, and Skype's decision to end third party support pushes the holy grail of an integrated instant messenging service further away. So it seems that we'll have to have 15 different windows open on our desktops for a little while longer. µ