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Skype 4.0 beta 2

This evening Skype has Tomorrow Skype will release the second beta of Skype 4.0.  Skype 4.0 is an ambitious attempt by the company to redesign the Skype UI to better expose the features of Skype to end users, and to reduce confusion around how to use those features.

After studying feedback from over 350,000 users, including 50,000 new skype users, they’ve returned some features that were missing from Skype 4.0 beta 1, giving it a more familiar look and feel.  Here’s Skype’s Product Manager for their Windows products, Mike Bartlett, to explain more.

I’ve been using the beta privately for the last couple of days.  The changes, while subtle, absolutely do improve the Skype experience.  My favorite is the compact view, which is a return to something more akin to the familiar old Skype user interface. See below:

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The bottom line? According to a conversation I had with Mike earlier this week, they’re seeing more users using more types of communications, including a dramatic spike in video usage.  Perhaps more important from a corporate perspective, they’re also seeing a spike in users choosing paid-for premium services.

Join me tomorrow morning on the SquawkBox where Mike will be our guest.  And if you want to take the beta for a spin beforehand, download it here when available.

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