Skype Terminating Desktop API
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Friday, 25 October 2013

Developers are waking up to the fact that the Sykpe Desktop API is to be withdrawn at the end of December 2013 - and are trying to reverse the decision with a petition.

Although the decision to "de-commission" the Desktop API was communicated to Sky partners in July, it didn't get much attention at the time. Now notices such as this one have started to appear when users download the latest version of Skype and try to start a third party app:



This warning has also recently appeared on the Sykpe for Developers site:

Important: The Desktop API is no longer supported and will be discontinued in December 2013

and has caused a flurry of concern among the third party developers who have made use of the API that has been available for almost a decade.

The Skype Support explanation refers to the age of the API:

The Desktop API was created in 2004 and it doesn’t support mobile application development. We have, therefore, decided to retire the Desktop API in December 2013.

The withdrawal of the API will mean that many Skype headsets and apps will stop working, and in some cases may already have done so since, according to the July email sent to partners, Skype anticipated that due to changes that were due to come into effect:

the Desktop API will cease to function correctly from September 2013

Now that news of the imminent closure of the Desktop API has surfaced, a petition on, initiated by Voice on the Web calls on Skype to:

reconsider this decision until they can provide support for these developers to continue to offer their added functionality, such as call recording, chat archiving, chat translation, headset operation to the basic Skype calling experience.

It needs to attract 10,000 signatures and in its first week had fewer than 500.

Developers whose apps are affected are blaming Microsoft, which acquired Skype in 2011, and certainly it can be seen as part of Microsoft overall policy of deprecating the desktop while promoting mobile devices.

So what are developers expected to use to create future apps - for mobile, web and desktop apps?

Currently the replacement URI API hardly justifies the name. It is a Rest-style API that provides very few facilities - place a call or start a chat and that's about it. You can use the URI API raw from a web page or via JavaScript and there are also libraries for Windows 8, Android and iOS. This limits what you can now do and the idea that you can bring existing applications up-to-date is laughable. 

It is difficult to see why Skype has to close the API - simply deprecating it would have been enough. It is also difficult to see why Skype considers the features it isn't supplying in the URI API to be undesirable. From a technological point of view it makes no sense, so you can only assume that there is a marketing angle or some other politics in play. 


So even if you are not directly affected, add you name to the petition

and share, tweet and retweet the message to ensure that Skype (Microsoft) cannot blame lack of interest for not reviewing its decision.

More Information

Sykpe for Developers

Skype Support explanation

Skype Desktop API will no longer be active

Skype: Abandoning Developers and Inviting Business User Backlash

Skype URIs

Related Articles

Recording Skype


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