LOS ANGELES – Bloatware is the term given to programs that come pre-installed on computers even though it’s unlikely they will be used by every owner. Sometimes they are difficult to get rid of and can consume resources unnecessarily.
Pre-installed anti-virus software has often fit that definition. Now, Skype looks to be joining that list. Microsoft owns the voice, audio and text messaging program and will be making it the default instant communications tool on the newest version of Windows.
“This is fantastic news for both Skype and Windows users,” a Skype blog post said. “Now you don’t have to download your favorite app to stay in touch whenever you’re apart. With Windows 8.1, simply tap the Skype Live Tile, log in and you’re ready to go.”
Apple similarly installs its FaceTime video chat service on the OSX operating system by default.
Still, the move is significant for Microsoft because it famously settled an antitrust case with federal prosecutors involving its bundling of the Internet Explorer Web browser with earlier versions of Windows. Critics said Microsoft’s apparent favoritism of Internet Explorer gave it an edge against competing browsers since most desktop computers run Windows.
Skype says it has more than 300 million users, and its brand name is often used as a short-hand term for video-chatting. About 5 percent of personal computers are running Windows 8, according to the tracking firm Net Applications. But Skype should still get a boost from the new visibility in the months to come.
Windows 8 users can download 8.1 as a free update starting on Oct. 17. The update will be available at retail stores on Oct. 18.