Skype marketing trickery


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Screen sharing is still free with Skype, but you’d not know it from Microsoft’s weasel words.

One of the best features in Skype is screen sharing – the ability to send some or your entire computer screen to your caller, instead of video from a webcam.

This feature is still free in the latest version of Skype, but it’s made to look like a Premium feature you have to pay for.

Since Microsoft bought Skype they have been changing the product to generate more revenue. In particular they want more people to buy a monthly or annual Premium package. But along the way they have been overzealous, to put it politely. Others might say Skype is being deliberately misleading.

Here’s what happens when you try screen sharing with Skype v5.8.32.156 …

Instead of getting the screen sharing options you get this bewildering dialog box:

Skype Screen Sharing sales pitch image from Skype marketing trickery at Office-Watch.com

It looks wrong, firstly because it’s titled ‘Group video calling’ when the call is a standard ‘one-to-one’.

The headline is ‘You need Skype Premium to share screens’ which is simply wrong. A one-to-one Skype call can share screens for no extra charge as confirmed on the Skype site.

The link you want is the greyed out one on bottom left – click on ‘Continue with a free call’ to remove this advertising block and reveal the screen sharing controls underneath. The wording above the button is also deceptive. ‘Simply close this window to use one-to-one video calling only’ is strictly correct but doesn’t say that screen sharing will be available when you close the window. The word ‘only’ implies video calling but no screen sharing.

The whole thing is worded to try not being strictly incorrect while giving the firm impression that you have to pay for screen sharing. We feel the wording is incorrect, particularly the heading, and blatantly misleading to customers.

The deceptive advertising will appear each time you try to share a screen for the first time on a separate Skype call.

Microsoft has often tried weasel wordings to trick customers but this effort is pretty blatant even for Redmond.

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