For the past few years Skype has been getting progressively worse with each iteration. Skype 5 moved away from the compact 2.X era interface to an interface that's much more wasteful and less usable. Features like videoconferencing went paid-only, and now the latest betas are integrating with Facebook and have ads.

I've been on the fence a while regarding Skype; for all its faults it still is useful, but I've gotten to the point where I don't like the direction the software is taking and I'm looking into potential replacements.

The following is a list of Skype features that I use; I'm looking for a set of software/services that will cover most of these:

  • audio calling
  • video calling
  • audio conferencing
  • video conferencing
  • Mac client
  • iOS client
  • Windows client (for family without Macs/iOS devices)
  • calling phone numbers
  • call recording (I use Ecamm's CallRecorder for Skype)

There are other features, like chatting, sending files, SkypeIn, and voicemail, but the above features are the ones I need. Any suggestions?

  • Skype has always done single-user video conferencing for free; only the newly introduced multi-way video conferencing costs money. I still use Skype every day for work IM, audio conferencing, desktop sharing.
    – Michael H.
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 1:18

4 Answers 4


At the moment, I am sticking with uninstalling "new Skype" and going back to the old Skype.

But, VBuzzer is also a very good choice. They are based on open standards and can do most of the above, including video conferencing without a download (i.e.; in browser). (No Skype-in type number though). They also have mobile applications for both iOS and Android.

Google Voice + Gchat + Google Plus hangouts is always an option as well

  • I forgot about hangouts - that might be good!
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 1:23
  • Google voice is US only tho. Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 2:42
  • "old Skype" link seems misleading?
    – bisko
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 15:06
  • oops, cut and paste error :) changed link - now goes to the Mac 2.8 Skype verison that Skype finally put back up after the outcry over Skype 5 Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 17:01
  • also in the future, for something that is most prob a typo, etiquette is to point it out and allow fixing before downvoting Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 20:42

Trillian would be my choice and it should hit all your requirements except perhaps the phone calling extension. (I haven't used it personally in a while)

Google voice isn't a shoe in replacement for that one aspect since it's not a true VOIP - but you might have to choose amongst your requirements. Skype has the pockets to hit all the points you mention and I don't see anyone else with the pockets to do all those clients with all those features. Perhaps if others get fed up with Skype, another service will pop up that is reasonably priced so as not to need to be ad supported.

  • Hm, I used to use Trillian way way back in its 0.7X days on Windows, never considered that there was a Mac version out Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 20:38
  • Their strong point is multi vendor chat support, but I'd pick them as the company that could pull off a Skype replacement in the next six months if the "revolt" gets bad.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 20:40
  • 1
    Hm, I downloaded it but I don't see any audio or video capabilities. Are those 'pro' features? Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 20:45
  • huh? Trillian is an IM app (a good one, but an IM app) not a phone replacement. Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 22:28
  • That's why I called out the fact it's not a phone replacement in the first sentence of my answer. I'm not aware of anything that meets all the requirements today so I offered one option to cover some of the features. :-) You do have to "go Pro" to get the video chat from Trillian.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 17:28

I use iChat wherever possible - not nearly as ubiquitous as Skype but the tight OS integration, stability, performance, and no ads should make it at least a consideration.

If you can use AOL IM accounts on both ends you'll get screen sharing and video. If you control your own network you could also investigate setting up Jabber, Spark or similar and creating your own accounts.



  • audio calling: Nimbuzz2Nimbuzz free
  • calling phone numbers: NimbuzzOut or any custom SIP
  • video calling: iOS+PC, not for Mac
  • audio conferencing: yes (I have not tried this though.)
  • video conferencing: no
  • Mac client: yes
  • iOS client: yes
  • Windows client: yes
  • Messaging: yes (connect with Facebook, Twitter, Google Talk....)
  • Group chat: yes
  • checking this out now, looks promising! Commented Jan 7, 2012 at 0:55

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