Skype Rolls Out Ads, Bluetooth Support In iOS App Update

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Skype’s updated iOS app is turning out to be a bit of a mixed bag. It manages to add a few useful new features, like Bluetooth headset support and in-call video stabilization, but one addition may have some users groaning: in-app advertising.

Now, not everyone will have to deal with Skype’s latest advertising push. The ads only appear to users who have Skype accounts, but don’t have any active Skype credits attached to it. And people who don’t have a subscription calling plan. And people who don’t have a Skype Premium account. Methinks a pattern is emerging here.

Essentially, Skype is only displaying ads to users who don’t pay anything to use the service. The ads themselves aren’t terribly obtrusive, so I imagine most people will be nonplussed by the news, but it’s a clear sign that Skype is trying to get something out of their non-paying users.

After updating, for example, the only ad I’ve seen is for GroupMe, perched right at the top of my contact list. Of course GroupMe was acquired by Skype not too long ago, so it looks like Skype is trying to leverage their own userbase to grow GroupMe’s.

It’s not a huge inconvenience, but one has to wonder if Skype will eventually start displaying ads for products and services other than their own. Maybe some Microsoft-friendly ads are in the pipeline, considering their business relationship. (Update: a Skype representative confirmed that the company would be “selling ads to 3rd party advertisers.”)

To their credit, at least the advertising was bundled with some substantive additions. Bluetooth support is a welcome change, even if it only works with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4G, and iPad 2. Also present in the changelog is the ability to send and receive emoticons, and a handful of bug fixes. Compulsive updaters should feel free to take the plunge, but the ad-weary may want to hold off.