Microsoft is turning Skype into a messaging platform—and, as usual, it’s late to the game

Michael Russian

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Like Tencent did with Wechat, Facebook with Messenger, and Slack withSlack, Microsoft is turning its chat app, Skype, into a full-blown messaging platform.

To transform Skype, Microsoft has to make it smarter, and the company’s plan for doing so rests on the shoulders of bots, and their creators. At its Build developer conference today (March 30), Microsoft introduced the Skype Bot Program—a set of tools, including an SDK, API, and workflows—that, as its name suggests, lets developers build bots for Skype.

Some examples of what these Skype bots will be able to do include ordering a cab, booking a hotel room, and “anything that you may want to do that you’ve done historically with applications and websites,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because the whole concept of smarter AI helping humans get things done was a

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