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Skype Shuts Down SkypeKit and the Skype Developer Website

Goodbye to SkypeKit... and perhaps more importantly to the website. Prominently featured there now is a banner saying the site will close on July 31, 2014:

Skype Developer 3

Leaving aside the bizarre way to end the warning banner ("... to integrate with" and then nothing more), I went to the site because I received an email from Skype in the form of a "SkypeKit License Termination Notice". The email says in full:

Dear Dan ,

In July 2013, we notified you of our intention to end support for our SkypeKit SDK at the end of July 2014. With this date now approaching, this email serves as 30 days’ official notice of termination of the SkypeKit Licence Agreement (“Agreement”) pursuant to Section 13.2.4 of the Agreement. The Agreement will end on July 31st 2014. Upon termination of the Agreement you must promptly destroy all copies of the SkypeKit SDK in your possession or control, except that if you have already entered into the SkypeKit Distribution Terms and have received a commercialization keypair for your SkypeKit Product(s) then you may continue to distribute these SkypeKit Products(s).

Skype will not be issuing any new keypairs and we remind you that keypairs may only be used in connection with the SkypeKit Product for which they were issued. In addition, for hardware, keypairs may only be used for the specific version of the SkypeKit Product that was certified through our hardware certification program. Our hardware certification program for SkypeKit Products has now closed and no new hardware (including new models or versions of previously certified hardware) can be distributed.

Key investments in Skype’s application and service architecture may cause the Skype features to stop working without notice in SkypeKit products. As a result, we encourage you to end any further distribution of SkypeKit products.

We would also like to draw to your attention to the obligations that survive termination of the Agreement as described in Section 16.3 of the SkypeKit Licence Agreement.

The Skype Developer website will also close on July 31st, 2014. If you have any queries please contact Skype Developer Support.

Kind regards
Skype Developer Team

Looking back, I don't see the email from July 2013, but in truth I probably deleted it or it wound up in a spam folder. Sadly, I long ago lost much of my interest in Skype's latest developer follies.

If we jump back in time a bit, Skype first released a "preview" of their "SkypeKit" Software Development Kit (SDK) back in early 2011. Jim Courtney had a great writeup of their release of the public beta at eComm 2011. Like many others, I signed up and paid my $10 to see what was under the hood. I didn't do much with it but I remember looking at the python SDK a bit. Later in October 2011 I wrote about Skype's renaming of their public APIs and provided some clarification about what SkypeKit was all about.

And then I pretty much wrote nothing else about it... and much of the program gradually started fading away. In all my many posts about Skype, the only subsequent mention I find of SkypeKit was in a September 2010 post about Grandstream adding in Skype video to their IP phones.

In fairness, this was all happening before and then during the Microsoft acquisition of Skype in 2011 and so it was not surprising to see APIs created before Microsoft's acquisition being phased out.

What continues to surprise me is that there has never been any real replacement. Skype's 5th, 6th or 7th attempt (I lost track) at a developer program finally... just... died...

The folks at Skype wrote last November about the demise of the Desktop API and the need to support mobile devices. With that API's demise they also killed off their App Directory, which was their latest incarnation of a way to help developers get their apps out to Skype users.

Now Skype's entire "developer support" seems to be a category of pages on their support site, most of which seem to have answers about how the Skype Developer Program is no longer accepting registrations... or about why certain systems no longer work.

I get it... applications evolve. And Skype certainly has evolved away from its roots. It's just too bad, because once upon a time there seemed to be such promise for Skype as a communication platform that could be used widely by other companies and applications.

R.I.P. SkypeKit.

R.I.P. Skype Developer Program.

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