Microsoft zaps Skype IM bugs

Users experienced IM sync problems across devices running Skype

Microsoft has fixed a variety of bugs that affected people's ability to use Skype's instant messaging feature across different devices.

The sync errors, which caused messages to not appear in all of a user's devices and other inconveniences, have been stamped out via an upgrade to the Skype servers, but users still need to download the latest Skype client software, the company said Thursday.

"We know that as users have started using Skype on multiple devices, they've had difficulty keeping conversations in sync, or they've missed messages and seen 'read' messages on one device that are still marked as 'unread' on another. We've been working hard to solve these issues while adding other experiences to make an improved Skype chat," wrote Microsoft official Elaine Ansell in a blog post.

The improvements include push notifications to alert people about new IM messages and proper syncing of Skype IM chats across all of a user's devices.

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"You can scroll back on your mobile phone to see the conversation you had on your laptop just as easily as the chat you had with your best friend on your smartphone about a recipe," Ansell wrote.

Microsoft is also assuring users that problems with delivery of messages have been fixed and that messages that are read in one device will appear as "read" in the user's other devices.

In addition, the Skype mobile app has been improved so that it consumes less battery and loads faster at launch when resuming its use.

"And, in the coming months, we'll continue to enhance your chat experience such that you'll only receive notifications on the device you're actively using," she wrote.

These enhancements will be applied to Skype's group IM chat capability in the coming months.

Microsoft decided to retire its Windows Live Messenger service last year and move its users to Skype, a controversial decision that led many Windows Live Messenger users to complain about a number of issues, including a problem migrating contacts to Skype and missing features.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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