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Microsoft Discontinues Skype for Windows Phone 7.x

Users of Windows Phone 7 will no longer be able to use Skype on their devices, according to an announcement posted last week on the Skype support page.

"We are permanently retiring all Skype apps for Windows Phone 7," Microsoft said. That means the app can no longer be downloaded for Windows Phone 7, and users who already have the app installed will be blocked from signing in starting in the coming weeks, according to the post.

As of this writing, the "system requirements" section of this Skype for Windows Phone page still indicates Windows Phone 7.5 as the base requirement for running Skype. However, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed on Monday that Skype is being discontinued for all Windows Phone 7.x devices, including Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 7.8.

Windows Phone 7.x devices are not upgradeable to Windows Phone 8 due to their lower hardware support limits, so Windows Phone users who want to continue using Skype must switch to Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone 8.1.

Microsoft did not give a specific reason for killing Skype on Windows Phone 7 beyond a vague statement saying that the latest version of the app is the best.

"We want everyone to experience the best Skype has to offer -- from enhanced quality to better reliability to improved security -- and the newest version of Skype is the way to do that," the announcement said. "So everyone can benefit from the latest improvements, we sometimes retire older versions of Skype across all platforms, including mobile devices."

Microsoft advised those whose paid subscriptions will be affected by the change to cancel their subscriptions to avoid future charges.

Worldwide Windows Phone version market shares. Source: AdDuplex's "Windows Phone Statistics Report," July 2014.

The vast majority of Windows Phone users should be unaffected by the change, according to July market share figures from AdDuplex, a mobile app advertising platform that focuses on Windows Phone and Windows 8. According to AdDuplex (see chart), over 70 percent of Windows Phone users are running Windows Phone 8, and nearly 12 percent are using the latest available update, Windows Phone 8.1.

Less than 18 percent of Windows Phone users are on Windows Phone 7.x, AdDuplex found.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the Senior Site Producer for RCPmag.com.

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