Firefox users who try to open the web version of Skype in the Firefox browser run into a wall currently because Microsoft claims it is not supported.
If you try to open the page in Firefox or any other non-Chromium-based non-Microsoft Edge browser, you are greeted with a “browser not supported ” message.
Update: this has been going on for about 2 years apparently.
According to the message, Skype for Web supports only Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. Microsoft asks users to either use one of these browsers — or other Chromium-based browser without stating so explicitly — or use the desktop program instead. A link to the desktop version of Skype is provided.
Skype for Web is available as a preview currently, and it is possible that Microsoft will unlock it for other browsers, e.g. Firefox by Mozilla, when the web service exits the preview phase. It is equally possible that Microsoft won’t do so.
Microsoft does not reveal why Firefox is not supported. It is likely that Microsoft checks the user agent of the connecting browser and uses it to determine whether users get the “browser not supported” message or access to the Skype for Web preview.
Firefox users who change the browser’s user agent using to that of a supported web browser, e.g. Google Chrome, won’t receive the not supported message but can use the service just fine.
Note: I did not test all features and it is possible that some features may not work in Firefox due to technical limitations. It is equally possible that everything works and that Microsoft blocks Firefox for other reasons.
This is not the first time that major companies limit access to websites to certain browsers; Google has the habit of limiting new services to Chrome first before it makes them available to other browsers. Microsoft limited access to certain services in the past as well.
There are two main reasons why companies limit access to web services to certain browsers:
- because of technical limitations.
- because they want to push certain browsers.
Has Microsoft’s decision to switch Microsoft Edge to the Chromium engine in 2019 something to do with the decision? I contacted Microsoft to find out more about the blocking of Firefox but have not heard yet back.
Now You: What is your take on this?
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