We reported earlier that Mike Bartlett, Skype for Windows Product Manager, would be the guest on Friday’s Squawk Box. With 15 fifteen participants, Mike answered questions ranging from features of the new Skype for Windows 4.0 Beta; plans and objectives for the beta program, the challenges of trying to launch concurrent (Windows, Mac, Linux) versions, interoperation with other services (such as iotum’s Free Conference Call service that hosted the call) and other issues related to the evolution of Skype.
Three key points:
- The Skype for Windows 4.0 beta program is unique in that they are seeking out user responses to the challenges of getting new users started readily while leaving the flexibility and scalability issues power users encounter. For instance, while the Beta 1 client takes up a full desktop — largely to get user reaction — there will probably end up being a way to “hide” the conversation content pane, leaving the left hand conversation management pane but they want feedback from all beta participants on the full desktop. As a result we will see several phases to this beta program with a final release date largely dependent on the beta program feedback (and they’re getting lots).
- New users are randomly being presented to with the beta to get the feedback from actual new users on how they adopt Skype. They want to improve on the adoption rate by new users; abandonment is an issue they are certainly conscious of. (Or does it help to answer the question as to, why, with over 300 million reported account registrations, are the ongoing usage rates in the range of 30 to 35 million “real users“?)
- Providing real time communications infrastructure is most efficiently handled when Skype can write in the native environment for each of the Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. As a result they do not want to compromise the performance through using a cross platform environment but rather want to provide user experiences that users of each environment are accustomed to. Yet this diversity approach to each platform allows the team for one platform to pick up features and experiences from other platforms. For instance the conversation management user interface of Skype for Window 4.0 beta was picked up from experience with the Skype for Mac user interface with its “slide-out” drawers.
There were many more issues discussed; go over to Saunderslog.com’s “Squawk Box June 20 – Skype 4.0” and listen to the complete interview.
Once again, if you wish to participate in the Skype 4.0 for Windows beta program, read our earlier post for download information but also read the caveats.