How Zoom crushed Skype

By: Andrew Curtin

The rise of Zoom over the last few months has been somewhat phenomenal. I guess it could be comparable to Leicester City rising through the ranks, competing with the big boys, and finally going on to win the Premier League title in 2016. For a true underdog story, check out ‘Fearless Foxes: Our Story | Leicester City’s 2015/16 Premier League Title’


Before we get stuck in, Microsoft owns Skype. I just had to clear that up in case of any confusion later down the line.

For nearly two decades Skype was the go-to video platform for businesses and everyday users. The platform gave us a break from the tyranny of the phone networks by offering cost-effective calls overseas. Families could see and talk to their sons and daughters in Sydney, Los Angeles, London, and Donegal! Video platforms are second nature to us now, but in 2003, it was kinda revolutionary.

It was when Microsoft acquired Skype is when everything started to go drastically pear-shaped for the platform’s user interface. After countless redesigns and tweaks, calls became much more difficult to execute. Tech investor, Om Malik said to wired “They just managed to muck it up all along.” Malik was a lifelong supporter until Skype redesigned the platform, his kind words were as follows “It was so terrible, that was the last time I used Skype. I just got fed up with trying to use that application. The whole thing got convoluted, the interface got worse, and the performance got terrible. It just lost the ease of use it used to have.”

As well as this, Skype began entering the world of instant messaging and developing Snapchat type emoji’s titled ‘moji’s‘🙉.They wanted us to use their mobile app the same way we use WhatsApp & Messenger. With pressure mounting on the apps user experience as well as trying to compete with fully focused messenger companies, Skype’s core product, video, began to stagnate.

What once was clean and simple to use, became difficult, corporate, and clunky. You had to download it, create an account and try to get familiar with new interfaces on a regular basis, while Zoom were just allowing you to join conversations via a simple link.

Things that take up too much of your time, are just not appealing anymore.

In July 2021, Skype for Business will disappear. It will be axed and dropped from Microsoft.

futurama meme saying 'can't tell if internet down or skype just sucks


”I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee

While Skype were doing a bit of this and that, Zoom were honing their one kick: Video conferencing. Their strive towards quality consumer experience blew their competitors out of the park. The ability to host a call with up to 100 people (49 in gallery view), flawless call quality, record meetings, and share quality content all free-of-charge set them apart from Skype and the rest early on.

It’s no surprise that in the 1st quarter of 2020, Zoom’s revenue grew to astounding $328.2m, up 169% from 2019.

Apart from high-quality calls and cost advantages, many believe the real breadwinner for Zoom is their ability to reduce ‘friction‘. You don’t need to do anything except clicking a link that the host sends you and you’re in. You don’t need to be a tech wizard.

The company has stayed in their lane and reaped the rewards!

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