Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced yesterday that its Skype Qik app will be shut down on March 24. The mobile video messaging app was launched in 2014 after Microsoft acquired real-time video startup Qik for a reported $100m. It enabled users to record up to 42 seconds worth of video in a square format that is similar to that of Instagram.
The app set itself apart with a number of features to speed up the viewing of video messages. It downloads messages before notifying users that they have been received so that they can be played back right away without waiting for them to download. It also saves battery life by not running in the background.
In addition, it enables senders to delete a video on both their own phone and the recipient’s phone whether it has been viewed or not. Videos cannot be saved locally or shared with others, and each video is automatically erased after two weeks.
Curtain call set for next month
Despite Qik’s many features, Microsoft has found that people vastly prefer to use the full-fledged Skype app, so they are moving some of the most popular Qik features there. The Skype app already has many of the same features as Qik, such as filters.
The official Skype blog says that users will have until March 24 to save any of the messages they want to keep. The app will cease to work on that date.
According to Google Play store data, the Qik app was downloaded somewhere between one and five million times; the download numbers for the Snapchat app are about 100 times higher.
Does Microsoft still believe in Skype?
The failure of Qik should not be raising any alarm bells about the future of the full-fledged Skype app. Microsoft has been adding features to Skype in a clear signal that the firm still believes in the future of the app.
Skype recently started rolling out group video calling on iOS and Android smartphones, which should be available worldwide by next month. This will allow group video calls of up to 25 people. The person doing the talking at any given moment will be displayed in the middle of the screen.
Skype competitor Google Hangouts has had a group video call feature that supports up to ten people at once for quite some time now, but Apple still has not added such a feature to FaceTime.
Microsoft also recently expanded Skype’s chat invitation capabilities to Android and iOS. This allows anyone to invite people to join a group conversation and even be part of a video call via Skype for Web.
Windows Insiders can now also send pictures and short video clips called Skype mojis using the native Messaging app on Windows 10 Mobile.
For now, it looks like Skype will be strong enough to keep up with Google Hangouts and FaceTime, so there is no need to worry about it meeting a similar fate to that of Qik.