Skype is a VoIP and IM client. The service allows users to communicate with peers by voice using a microphone, video by using a webcam, and instant messaging over the Internet. Phone calls may be placed to recipients on the traditional telephone networks.
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Pro Easily connect with others due to how popular the service is
There's a good chance that whoever you're trying to reach has Skype already set up and familiar with it, avoiding the hassle of installing and getting to know new software.
Pro Screen sharing
You can show your whole desktop, a select part of the screen or a specific window over Skype.
There's software for Windows, Mac & Linux and apps are available on iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.
Pro Group video for free
You can hold video calls with up to 10 people.
Pro Available on Linux
A stripped down, minimalist version of Skype is available for Linux.
Pro File sharing
Skype allows you to send any files (MP3s, images, text, etc.) by simply dragging and dropping then in the chat window making it simple to share things with colleagues.
Pro Cheap fixed phone number
Starting at $5/mo you can get a Skype number.
Pro Send SMS and make regular calls
With Skype Credit bought or a subscription, you can send SMS and make direct calls.
Pro Group chat with archive / records
Pro Powerful 1:1 chat and also group chat
Con Plagued by bugs on all platforms
Crashes and other bugs are prevalent on Android, Windows and other platforms.
Con Subpar video quality with more than 5 users
Skype has significant problems with multiple users and video quality. Skype recommends that a max of 5 users group chat as video quality is severely affected. Even webcams tested with other chat services showed lower quality when used with Skype.
Con Not a feasible alternative as a professional team chat
Missing key feature such as centralized mgmt, centralized billing, data retention policies, ...
Con Poor quality when screensharing
It is not possible to manually set resolution or bitrate, and Skype often defaults to a resolution so low that text is unreadable. It is also not possible to transfer control over mouse and keyboard.
Con Slow filesharing speed
Con Owned by Microsoft
Con Obnoxiously large ads
Ads take up over 25% of the usable space.
Con Poor Linux support
The version available for linux users is quite outdated, and does not support some of the newer functionality, such as the free group video calling and screen sharing.
Con Requires both ends to be online (if neither end is using a cloud-enabled device)
Messages are sent and received only when both ends are online, if neither end is using a cloud-enabled device. In this case, if you are online 9-17 and your recipient is online 18-3, messages will never be delivered.
Con MIcrosoft (Skype's owner) actively assists eavesdroppers
On the other hand, if you lose your copy of one of your conversations, you may be able to get a copy of it from your government with a little bit of luck and a public records request.