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The term Skype is synonymous to internet communications that involves free instant messaging, voice as well as video calling. This is true because Skype is basically the first application to come up with free calling over the internet via a PC.

However, this now Microsoft-owned messenger is no longer the dominant player as far as instant messaging and calling over the internet are concerned. The messenger faces stiff competition across the board. Just this spring, Facebook Messenger ended its relationship with Skype video calling when it introduced the video calling service in this messaging app. There is even much tougher competition coming in from other major players in the industry, for instance, WhatsApp, Viber, QQ Mobile and WeChat.

In the just concluded month of August, WhatsApp was listed as the most used instant messaging app, with a monthly active user base of over 900 million people. During the same month, the Facebook mobile app recorded a total of 1 billion active users on a single day, a figure that has never been reached before by any social networking application.

Skype 6.0 for Android and iOS is now available for free download

The latest version that Microsoft rolled out just last week is Skype 6.0 and it affects both the Android and iOS users. The newly released version has completely been redesigned in order to give it a more attractive look, in addition to coming in with more extras.

For Android users, they need to be running on v4.0.3 or later. This group of users will notice a floating action button for easy starting of chats. Navigation in this new application is now more streamlined than in previous versions. As for the iOS users, the new Skype 6.0 comes with new swipe gestures where everything as far as sharing photos, emoticons, web links and locations is concerned has been made much easier, even when on a video call. In addition, starting a group conversation on an iPad is now easier with these gestures. The latest Skype 6.0 for iOS requires the device to be installed with at least iOS 7 or later.

Users of both Android and iOS versions of Skype will enjoy an enhanced search feature in a bid to simplify the process of finding contacts and messages.

Bottom line

Even though Skype is finding it difficult to cope with the stiff competition that has been brought about by Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber and WeChat, expect Microsoft to come in with more updates for both platforms, including PCs. This is actually the major cross-platform product the company can leverage in pulling more people to the Microsoft family and it is also their major communications offering.