Skype Ends Desktop API. Now What?

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Skype Ends Desktop API. Now What?

I launched Skype this morning and was greeted with a warning message that caused me some alarm (screenshot above). It appears a major API used by third-parties to integrate with Skype is ending in just one month. That gives virtually no time for developers to code new software to ensure their headsets, cameras, etc. work properly with Skype. When I clicked the FAQ hyperlink, I read this:

You may have recently noticed a message in Skype alerting you to the fact that your headset-related application won’t be supported from December 2013.

That’s because this application uses a technology called the Desktop API to answer and end Skype calls by pressing call-control buttons built-in to your headset or to the cable connecting the headset with your computer.

We’ve been working hard to develop new technologies and make improvements that will benefit Skype users across all platforms, especially on mobile devices. These changes will significantly improve the call quality and speed of delivery of instant messages, while retaining excellent battery life of mobile devices.

As people are using Skype on more devices, we’re also working hard to create a more familiar and consistent Skype experience across all major platforms.

The Desktop API was created in 2004 and it doesn’t support mobile application development. We have, therefore, decided to retire the Desktop API.

If there are such call-control buttons on your headset, they will no longer work once the Desktop API has been discontinued. However, your headset will continue to work normally. You’ll only need to use the buttons in your Skype application to answer or end the call.

Look at what I highlighted for emphasis. So now if I have a wireless headset with integrated Skype call answer/hang-up buttons and am away from my desk I have to run to my desk & use Skype software to answer an inbound call? Seriously? You just killed ALL the buttons in the Skype ecosystem? I've tested many Skype products with answer/hangup buttons that are quite useful, including the Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam, AT&T TL7910 DECT headset, Plantronics Savi W430, and more.

I get Microsoft's/Skype's move to emphasize mobile, but something is fishy in Denmark. The terse statement makes NO mention of future software which will re-enable the third party Skype devices to have hangup/answer functionality. That to me says Skype and Microsoft are not going to support their partners. Microsoft has their own consumer line of products including USB mice, USB keyboards, gamepads, etc. so perhaps Microsoft wants only their Skype devices, including XBox's Kinect, and any future wireless or wired headset devices and cameras to have "tight" integration with Skype. If that is the case, and this is pure speculation on my part I admit, then today is the day Skype died! smiley-cry

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