Skype, the popular peer-to-peer VoIP service, just announced that it will soon shut down a large part of its developer program and shutter its Extras service, which allowed third-party developers to develop applications that enhanced the core functionality of Skype and sell them in Skype's own online store. Starting today, Skype will no longer accept new applications for inclusion in the Skype store and will stop to certify new Extras. Existing apps will continue to work and a public API will be maintained for the foreseeable future. While Skype will keep this public API open, however, it won't offer support for developers anymore.
According to eWeek's Clint Boulton, Skype will stop to allow third-party developers to use Skype credit by December 11 and it will stop processing invoices after January 25.
Of course, this is not necessarily the end of the road for third-party developers who really want to write applications for Skype. The company, however, will not actively promote these apps and they won't be certified. For developers, this means that they are now on their own and can't expect any more help from the company.
Skype itself is clearly making these decisions in order to trim unnecessary expenses from its books as its new owners are looking for ways to make the company operate more efficiently. It could also be that Skype plans to enable some of the services that the third-party Extras plugins currently offer in its own core client.
With the public API still being open, we are not ready to declare the death of the Skype ecosystem just yet, but developers will surely be wary of Skype and might just shy away from developing for a platform whose future looks uncertain.