It's not often you hear a company critique its own products, but that's exactly what Skype did this week. After releasing a new version of its well-known VoIP client for Windows PCs, Skype then announced it was pulling Skype for Windows Mobile phones and Skype Lite for Java handsets, including Android. Indeed, download pages for Windows Mobile and Java have been scraped from Skype's site, although existing users won't lose functionality for either Skype for Windows Mobile or Skype Lite.
What predicated Skype's decision? "Neither of these apps offered a great Skype experience," Skype said in a blog post.
Specifically, Skype Lite's limited country list was a hindrance for many Java phone owners, and calls dipped into the user's bank of minutes. For its Windows Mobile showing, Skype also cited difficulty maintaining the app's behavior from one device to the next. As some of the Java phones now also overlap with the Symbian operating system, Skype hopes Nokia users will pick up Skype for Symbian.
It seems to us that Skype is clearing the way for a distribution mobile model focused on carrier partnerships. Earlier this month at the Mobile World Congress, Skype announced one such deal with Verizon that will put a mobile Skype app on a variety of smartphones in Verizon's lineup, including long-awaited support for some BlackBerry phones. It is also likely we'll one day see Skype Mobile on Windows smartphones offered through Verizon in the U.S. We're guessing that a Windows Phone 7, slated to be on shelves by December 2010, would be one of them.
Until now, Skype has been actively developing at least its Windows phone apps, releasing Skype 3.0 for Windows phones last June. Skype has also been continuing work on a new Nokia-compatible app, the beta of which showed up in December.