Bookmarked How Skype lost its crown to Zoom (WIRED UK)

Not that people are using either as much as Zoom, which benefited both from being free to download and more reliable than its competitors. (Eric Yuan, Zoom’s founder, has been working on web conferencing software since he arrived in the US in 1997 from China to work for WebEx). An April 2020 survey of 1,110 US companies by Creative Strategies showed that 27 per cent of businesses primarily used Zoom for video calls and meetings, compared to 18 per cent that used Teams, and 15 per cent that used Skype. Many companies had quietly moved over from Skype to Zoom in the intervening years as Skype added more and more features that didn’t fit the core functionality of the service: producing decent quality video calls. And so when coronavirus hit, what in the first half of 2017 would have been a call to download Skype to keep in touch instead became a demand to download Zoom.

Chris Stokel-Walker documents the rise and fall of Skype as the darling of video-conference calls.

So what will be Skype’s legacy, having gone from the first thing you think of when considering video conferencing to an app that has sat out the biggest potential use case for its product in human history? There will be twin legacies, reckons Romanoff. “From Microsoft’s point of view it’ll be a success; they purchased a niche company and integrated it into Microsoft Office so it’ll have expanded its reach and usage,” he says. But the early adopters of Skype will shake their head at what Microsoft did, he believes. “They took this cool little product and made it corporate.”

Replied to More lockdown learning by john john (

I am very lucky in having a supportive wife, my daughter is grown and away, I’ve little in the way of home responsibilities. I’ve no ide how you would manage if you had kids at home or a partner that needed the living room space too…

Your discussion of introducing Microsoft Teams reminded me of Rolin Moe’s remarks that,

You can’t teach someone to swim while they’re drowning.

Certainly does sound exhausting.

In regards to space, I sometimes have the assistant principal trying to touch base with everyone and Ms 9 on WebEx. I am grateful that it is not yet winter over hear therefore allowing me to be able to setup in our alfresco when needs be.

Replied to

Does that mean I can go to you with all me MinecraftEDU questions?
Liked Microsoft’s Project Photon: A Stunted Effort To Rebuild Windows Mobile (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Today in Tedium: It’s a make-it-or-break-it situation when a software company decides to scrap an operating system several years in the making. Apple. Failing to ship Copland, averted the crisis by relying on a third-party groundwork—that one led to the creation of macOS. For other companies, like Palm and its spin-offs, projects like Cobalt are left as eternal reminders of their former ambitions. The case of Microsoft and their Photon project is peculiar in this regard. When the company announced a brand-new Windows Phone 7, no one shed a tear over the “true” successor to Windows Mobile 6. Nowadays, though, both platforms are just as irrelevant. But while the former gained a cult following, it’s time to ask: was there truly nothing left of Photon?

Liked “My work really began to flourish once I had access to the internet and realized that my students could collaborate with the world.” – Margaret Simkin, Australia (daily edventures)

Reflecting on the challenges of teaching today, Simkin sees the busyness of the curriculum and the lack of time to fully meet the timetables that most schools use as particularly difficult. “Immersion, less topics and more depth would be a great way to get more of us (and I include teachers in this) learning more deeply and meaningfully,” she says. “Teacher attraction and retention, particularly in rural and regional schools, is another big issue – and older teachers need to be valued more.”

Liked Goodbye, EdgeHTML (

Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google.
This may sound melodramatic, but it’s not. The “browser engines” — Chromium from Google and Gecko Quantum from Mozil…

I liked Colin Devroe’s response to this:

From one point-of-view this move by Microsoft might seem to make total sense. They spin this as “it will be easier for web developers to target one less browser engine”. However, this is exactly what web standards are supposed to afford – developers target the same set of standards and the browser engines, however many there are, target the same set of standards. In theory, having multiple engines shouldn’t make it too much more difficult for developers. In practice, however, it has. But most developers would agree that to avoid a monopoly in the browser market we’d take on the added complexity we’ve had for years. In fact, having multiple browser engines has made browsing on the web better since the competition has led to faster load times, less battery drain, and less computer memory usage … Beard’s call-to-action is to use Firefox. I think you should too. But I would simply say use anything but Chrome for a while just to swing the market in more directions.

Replied to New digital footprints poster! 👣 by Kathleen Morris (

Digital Footprints

Digital Footprint Tip No.11

Be careful when you see the word ‘free’, Flipgrid provides Microsoft a hell of a lot of data to feed Azure to train its algorithms. Who knows, that information could even be used to prosecute ‘illegal immigrants’.

Replied to Microsoft’s Ethical Reckoning Is Here (WIRED)

On Sunday, critics noted a blog post from January in which Microsoft touted its work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The post celebrated a government certification that allowed Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud-computing platform, to handle sensitive unclassified information for ICE. The sales-driven blog post outlined ways that ICE might use Azure Government, including enabling ICE employees to “utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification,” Tom Keane, a general manager at Microsoft wrote. “The agency is currently implementing transformative technologies for homeland security and public safety, and we’re proud to support this work with our mission-critical cloud,” the post added.

I am currently reading James Bridle’s New Dark Age and wonder if the partnership between ICE and Azure is just technology returning home?

Embrace, extend, and extinguish

Twenty yeara ago, when Microsoft was at its peak, a phrase was coined to describe the strategy to kill off rivals:

“Embrace, extend, and extinguish”,[1] also known as “Embrace, extend, and exterminate”,[2] is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found[3] was used internally by Microsoft[4] to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.source

Doug Belshaw touches upon this in a post on OER.