May 10 AT 11:00 AM Alberto Vildosola 22 Comments

Microsoft buys Skype, here are 4 alternatives just in case

Completely out of left field, Skype announced this morning that it has been acquired by Microsoft for a cool $8.5 billion in cash. Talk about timing, neither company seems to know about a certain huge developer conference that’s about to start in few minutes.

What does this acquisition mean for all you Skype users? Probably nothing in the near future, but who knows what Microsoft plans to do with Skype a year from now. So, why wait a year to switch from Microsoft Windows Live Video Chat Ultimate, when you can do it right now. Here are 4 good alternatives to Skype:


If video-chat is what you want and nothing else, Tango is the perfect fit for you. The app is as simple as it gets, with just a list of your Tango-using contacts and the ability to invite more friends. The video quality is very good and the app is quite responsive, even on low-end phones. Bonus: The app works even if your phone doesn’t have a front-facing camera.


On the other side of the spectrum, fring has every single feature you would ever want from a video-calling application. From group video-calling to regular phone calling, fring has it all. If you currently use Skype for calling regular phones, the service has calling rates similar to Skype. The app also uses fring’s video calling DVQâ„¢ technology (Dynamic Video Quality), that changes video quality depending on your connection.


Qik has been available for some Android phones for quite some time, but just recently the app found its way to the Market for all Android users to download. The service has all the basic features a good video-calling app requires, but Qik adds some unique ones that others lack. Like being able to receive and send video mail when either you or your friend is not available for video-chat. The app also allows you to record video and share the live feed with the world, because deep in your heart you know everybody is dying to see your cat lick itself.


Finally, ooVoo kind of takes something from all the others I mentioned. It’s very simple to use like Tango, but it also has group video-calling like fring. Like Skype, the service also has a desktop client for those times when you’d rather use your computer and not your phone. The Android app has one downside though, is only supported on certain devices. Check the ooVoo Market page to see if your phone is supported.

Bonus: Google Talk

Even though Google Talk with Video Chat in only available for Android phones running version 2.3.4, that also have a front-facing camera (read: just the Nexus S), the app should hit other Android phones over time. By the time you feel like switching away from Skype, your phone might already have Google Talk with Video. The app has one advantage over all the others, you already use it on a daily basis if you’re a Gmail user — which if you like Android means you probably are.

With this many good alternatives to Skype, which one will you go with? Or will you stay with Skype for the time being? Let us know in the comments.





Alberto is a college student living somewhere between Miami, Sarasota and the World Wide Web. Although a former iPhone owner, Alberto is now a proud Android enthusiast. You can follow Alberto on Twitter and Google+ for his thoughts unworthy of an article.

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  • http://Website CaMiX

    I believe Qik is owned by Skype so really only 3 other choices.

  • http://Website Joe

    All Video Call program can’t use on Android 3.0 >_<

  • http://Website Craig

    Qik is owned by Skype.

  • http://Website Eric R.

    I read this article as:
    – Microsoft purchases Skype.
    – Who knows what Microsoft will do?
    – Here are 4 other apps that you may want to switch to.

    @Alberto Vildosola
    Why do you not believe that Microsoft will just merge Skype with MS-live-chat and that Skype will continue to be supported? Why offer up alternatives to Skype? Do you believe that Microsoft is going to destroy something they just paid top dollar for?

    I think Microsoft bought Skype as a valued addition to their software portfolio. The cost of the merger far exceeds the normal “purchase and pocket the competition” corporate strategy would allow. I think MS-live-chat has a good hold in the desktop space, adding Skype (features and user base) only strengthens their offering. Microsoft needs Skype features to compete with Google-Chat (and Voice- I believe these are Google-merged now).
    Besides we cant let Google have the only “complete” Audio/Video, cross mobile , cross desktop, chat platform.

    **note I do not include Apple as a contender, for the obvious “walled-garden”.

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    Google allowing microsoft this opportunity clearly means they could care less. With Google talk soon to be available to all video chat will be just fine. Mean time qik users will continue to use qik until Google talk get up and running on all android devices that have 2.3.4 gingerbread. Skype was all about being exclusive anyway that never benefitted android as a whole.

  • http://Website Scott

    None of these are GOOD alternatives. Skype and Google Voice are the only options for cross-platform chat. GV offers Android (only for 2.3.4 users) to PC, while lacking iOS. Skype offers PC to iOS while lacking android. Tango, Fring and ooVoo have no PC and have awful video/voice connections. I’m holding out for Skype video to finally make its way to the Droid 2

  • http://Website Sarah

    I also found in Google while searching for “Skype alternative” and it’s pretty good. It’s directly on the web (no download required) and video conferencing is free.

  • http://Website Steven Thomsen-Jones

    I reckon MS will Leave Skype as is on PC, they probably wanted the infrastructure for video chat via Kinect to Skype users to increase sales of the hardware. Oh and as for video chat only on Nexus S, don’t forget the tablets with front facing cameras ;) (Have to justify buying a Xoom)

  • http://Website SH

    Bloody fools! They could have made their own VOIP network for a fraction of the price. And how to make it successful? Make it free! Spend another fraction of that money to make all calls to every country free and look how in no time it kicks Skype’s a** hard, and every other VOIP companies.

  • http://Website cviniciusm

    I don’t like fring because I’m not confident with its large use of permissions on the phone. Does fring really needs so many permissions?

  • http://Website cviniciusm

    The end of the world is coming…SKYpe.NET isborning and the Terminator with his BSoD ray will fulminate all of us ;-).

  • Sturoid

    You will have to add Viber to this list soon, it’s on iOS and is awesome. If you have ever used Whatsapp then this will be very familiar, it just syncs up with your contacts already on your phone and you can call anyone else with the app for free over 3G, 4G or wifi.

  • http://Website sweettcorcoran

    I already dropped skype. Google talk for chat, vopium for VOIP and I sm still checking for the best sms service, there are several options. Have no wish to be part of the microsoft enterprise thanks. I can only imagine what somebody feels like when they find their trusted boyfriend or girlfriend has been sleeping around, but this is what Skype has done. End. Basta. Finito. Skype? Nice knowhing you, as long as it lasted. Now I dont want to hear you or even hear your name any more. I have stopped automatic top up and just as soon as the balance reaches zero or nearly zero you are expunged from my hard drive, my phone and my memory. Enjoy your billions. Me, I enjoy my freedom.

  • http://Website We trust MSFT, yes we do

    MSFT’s track record on supporting competitor’s platforms doesn’t bode well for Skype on Mac OS X, Linux, Android.

    What I need is a video chat program which will work from mobile (Symbian/Android/IOS) to desktop (Mac).

    What’re my options apart from Google Talk?

  • http://Website Jim

    “Welcome to SkypeUpdate. You must install SkypeGenuineAdvantage to continue receiving Skype updates. Be advised if you are running Skype on Linux or Mac your Skype updates will include additional packages to upgrade you to Windows 7. Skype will be rebranded to MicroPhone. Thank you for using SkypeUpdate.”

  • Alfredo

    This is all well and good, useful information, but it lacks any information about customer service at the alternatives to Skype. I am very unhappy with Skype customer support and am looking for an alternative. But there is no point in moving from one provider to another, if both lack a decent customer support infrastructure. Can anyone comment on customer support at the alternative companies?

  • cath

    live videochat software has come a long way since the tiny screens and no audio days of messenger. cam2cam functionality with 2 way voice and full screen functionality now seems to be the norm. How long till HD is as standard as well do you think?

  • skype

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  • BIrkir

    I have used Skype for a long time but somehow I feel the lates UI is getting to overloaded. I have therefor started to use a new service Amivox ( They offer Amivox og Amivox free as Skype and their rates are very competitive for the OUT service.

  • Alicia

    Great list! I am always looking for new alternatives for conference calling.

    One service I’ve had a lot of luck with it Kuvicall ( It uses your phone service instead of WiFi, so I haven’t had any dropped calls yet. It’s perfect for my business. And there are no additional fees for long distance.

    It’s worth looking into if you are in the market for group calling services!

  • Jeffrey David

    Skype is best for personal & social interactions. For business meetings, security is top priority for me; hence, I use on premise RHUB web conferencing appliances. It works from behind my company’s firewall.

  • Ryan

    Thank you for this article, my business used Skype for a long time before we decided to make a switch.

    Currently we have been using Kuvicall, which has been terrific and reliable. I’d recommend the service to anyone who is looking for a group calling service that uses your phone service rather than internet connection.