Skype for Web (Preview) - Support for Firefox

Make Skype Web Preview available in Firefox.

It already works in Firefox but you blocked it with user agent. If user agent is changed to Firefox, it almost work. Maybe there are some permission errors for camera and microphone, but messages work. There is already issue in Bugzilla for this.

You should support Firefox!

 

Discussion Info


Last updated May 19, 2020 Views 1,636 Applies to:
This Skype Web on Firefox Bugzilla request has been open for two years without progress. (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1348849)  

Firefox Bugzilla developers could get some switched User Agents to work, some didn't work, and some partly worked, at Skype for Web (Preview) with FF55 & FF61, on Windows 10, Mac OSX and Linux Ubuntu 18.04 (etc), which is the intended focus of this discussion.  There could be the same and/or unrelated reasons that I wasn't able to get Skype Preview to accept at all, the last Windows XP Opera browser (36.0.2130.80), even though it has a Chrome engine, and I switched its User Agent to a relatively recent Chrome 70 browser UA.  

Is Skype Web Preview JavaScript purposefully testing for non-Google generic Chrome engine functions to exclude non-Google Chromes?  Or is it merely failing to adequately test?  FF Bugzilla's inconsistent results suggest the latter.  

The classic Skype Website states: "Support for this version of Skype for Web is coming to an end. A new preview version is available now for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome with HD video calling, call recording and much more. Try it out".  Indeed, https://preview.web.skype.com states that it will allow only Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome:  "Browser not supported.  Use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome to access Skype for Web (Preview).  Alternatively, download Skype on your desktop computer.  Get Skype for Desktop."  

Windows XP users can no longer download a working Skype for desktop; therefore Skype Web is currently the only Skype option on XP.  Why would MS Windows and/or MS Skype divisions try to prevent users of beloved-Windows-XP from using Skype Web in the future?

The truth is usually somewhere in-between extremes:  For example, say, yes, MS won't hire enough programmers for a money-losing product (Skype Home: Web or Desktop); but no, there are also some insurmountable Skype Home technical problems that are unrelated to profit.  Like maybe, too many global users even if they were monetized, because Microsoft isn't organized to operate like a standard telephone company.

Here are a few logical speculations that may not be accurate, or even if accurate, can't be admitted to be true by MS:  

1) Skype Home is not profitable, maybe never was profitable, or, what use to be enough profit from Home product's audio phone external minute sales, now isn't deemed enough.  Skype division management has likely been told to make Skype Home (more) profitable (or else...).  

General solution: reduce the number of Skype Home server users by making Skype incrementally less useful, more "social", and unavailable on legacy home platforms.  Then push Skype for Business sales.

2) Skype Home includes an alternate phone-like service, which sells phone minutes only when connected to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), and otherwise features free audio and video calling, Skype-to-Skype, world-wide.  It's not cheap to keep a global two-way video phone network like that in adequate video-fidelity.  The Skype Home product income is only (?) from PSTN audio phone.  How can that income alone possibly pay for the free Skype Home global-reach video phone service frequently mentioned in media by military families?  

Solution: secretly prepare the video phone system infrastructure for monetization, and wait for a future market opportunity (say, Facebook starts overlaying advertising on their video, but instead Skype, say, charges one cent per minute for video).

3) Skype for Business is a service product, and is monthly market-profit-priced that way, for all the mix of features including chat without ads (current users won't tolerate them).  However, file transmission features that used to be available to Skype Home, now only exist in Skype Business.  Why?  Because both Skype Home and Business products likely have to subtract from ledger-only profits, costs for big-file storage and transfer servers within MS Web Services.  And bandwidth to connect to foreign server farms/clouds (Amazon, Google, Facebook, HP, etc).  Maybe Skype Home can no longer "pay" enough on MS ledgers (or never could, and never will).  

Solution: Degrade Skype Home by removing fast file transfer, which forces out all large and small file-oriented businesses from using Skype Home for free.  Then sell Skype for Business to the large ones.  

4) Skype Home has completely free chat.  Home chat contributes no profit toward the substantial programming labor required to constantly update the many Skype browser and mobile clients for audio, video, photos, voice message, and (it has been 1-year of) chat stream storage, previously on too many platforms.  

Solution: Remove useful classic features and optional custom settings available on legacy OS chat clients (especially XP).  This will force out the older free-rider Skype chat-only users, or make them buy new computers or mobile devices, where the Skype clients have fewer features to support.  

5) Android Skype 8 is a disaster that in mid-2018, many, many protesting Skype users detested for its bad bugs (e.g. unexpected discarded edits, etc), reported loss of settings or features, and unwanted "social" coloring for teens that made it harder for adults to read.  MS publicity responded by claiming that the older client Android Skype 7 would continue to be supported for "quite a while".  "Quite a while" turned out to be roughly seven months before Android Skype 7 was again turned off, yet Android Skype 8 had not obviously improved, suggesting a lack of Skype division programming hours available for Android Skype 8, the presumed favored platform and client.  Something seems not right at Skype.  

Solution 1: Hire more U.S. Skype programmers.  But that would reduce profits, so that isn't likely to happen.  

Solution 2: In a serendipitous event, the apparently separate division of Skype India developed Android Skype Lite 1.0, that works better, and looks better, than Android Skype 8.  But Android Skype Lite 1.0 download is hard to locate and requires an .apk sideload not trivial for non-techies.  So Android Skype 8 still seems like, and maybe was the end for many disgruntled Android Skype users who said they would move to other chat apps.  To find out, we need a leak to the tech media, or a clever outside technical estimate of former Skype users who moved on.  

7) Skype Home Web on desktop browser may have no future among the new majority of mobile users.  

Solution: Sharply limit the amount of programming effort applied to validate Chrome-based desktop web browsers like Firefox and Opera.  

8) Yet, the separate rolling-Vista of Windows 10 (which big corporate businesses can prevent from updating for a year, but retail pro and especially home users cannot prevent updating to known disasters; e.g., last year's horrifying, massive file-deletion bug) has demanded from the Skype division a hard push toward their preferred Microsoft Edge browser product, even though it is reportedly so buggy that users don't want it.  So Skype Web Preview must support Edge, however few the users of it, and therefore wasted is perhaps half of the too-small available Skype Web browser-website programming hours.  

Solution: Apply no programming hours to non-MS browsers, except Google Chrome.  If FF55 & FF61 powered by Chrome don't work well, or at all, no Skype Home product profit will be wasted on them: users are directed to only genuine Google Chrome.  (That also proves MS is not a browser monopoly as in the 1990s.)  As another solution benefit, profit-draining free chat users on legacy computers are removed from the Skype support system.  

In summary, with too few U.S. programmers, and little evident MS corporate interest in the future of Skype Home Web, much less Skype Home Desktop prior to some future monetization time, why would anyone at Bugzilla.Mozilla rationally expect the surely overburdened, probably too-few Skype programmers, to assist them with making Skype compatible with current Firefox?  Especially when their Skype division managers could lose their jobs if they do??

That said, sure, I want a solution for Firefox and Opera, if only to avoid the paranoia of Google everywhere.  And, for FF and Opera, even if only on Win7 or Win8.1.  My two years of Win10 fear and loathing is heading toward Windows OS downgrades.   My guess is that Firefox Skype Web compatibility will have to come from a third party plugin.

The Skype web site states they only support Edge and Chrome. Since Chromium-based browsers are used by the majority, it appears their focus is to cater to the majority. By locking support by UserAgent or even OS, they are ensuring only the fully supported and tested browser clients are being served. You can spoof those values and the site will function in whatever partial compatibility it is cable of running, in that unsupported browser. I believe In order to offer full support for audio/video in other browsers like Firefox, they probably have to develop modifications/solutions that differ from their Chromium-based implementations. Since support for NPAPI plugins were dropped for security reasons, they would be unable to utilize the previous solutions they had developed and updated.  As compatible technologies are updated and used among browsers there is always a possibility that implementations will be simplified, increasing future compatibility among different browsers. Supporting older OSes or browsers that have ceased development/updates or have limited development is unrealistic. Developing new and alternate/forked solutions to address that minority, probably does not justify the development costs. It makes no sense for any company to throw their money into a money pit.

I don't agree with that.

Shouldn't web be compatible in (almost) all browsers? Why do we then have W3C and other organisations that manage standards?

Also, if only one browser is supported, this is also not good for the web generally.

It shouldn't be hard to support other browsers (like Firefox) unless new website uses non-standard technologies (which is again bad). There should probably just be a few more conditions to handle permissions and recording of video and audio. The website should use standard technologies like Media Stream Recording API, Media Stream API and WebRTC API with functions that work in all browsers.

Some users on Bugzilla even reported that it works almost completely if user-agent is changed to Chrome.

There is also uservoice idea for Firefox support at https://skype.uservoice.com/forums/914527-welcome-to-skype-ideas/suggestions/36658774-preview-firefox-support.