Downloading and installing the latest iteration of the Skype instant messaging client will hurt performance of the gold version of Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft has confirmed the issue, indicating that customers that deployed Skype 4.1 have noticed a consistent deterioration in the performance of IE8. Frank Olivier, Internet Explorer User Experience program manager, explained that the IE8 slowdown customers experienced on their computers was not directly related to the Skype IM client, but to the additional software that gets installed with the messaging solution.
“The delay caused by add-ons is usually the reason you see an IE tab with ‘Connecting…’ at the top, and as a result, the web page (even if it is about:blank) takes a few seconds to load,” Olivier explained. “Skype 4.1 installs the Skype program, and an Internet Explorer add-on that enables you to click phone numbers (or names of your Skype contacts) on web pages to call them with Skype. The Skype IE add-on can be uninstalled or disabled without affecting the core functionality of the Skype program itself.”
On the official Skype forum, Peter Kalmström, product manager, Skype Toolbars, responding to user feedback, acknowledged that Skype 4.1 was causing IE8 performance problems. Still, no solution is available from Skype to resolve the issue for now. “We will do all we can to make sure it becomes faster in the next version,” Kalmström noted.
Still, Windows users running both Internet Explorer 8 and Skype 4.1 can resolve the slowdown in a simple manner. All that they need to do is remove the source of the problem. “If you are seeing slow performance within Internet Explorer 8 (opening new tabs, for example), after just recently installing the latest version of the Skype application (v4.1), this could be the cause. We believe the reason behind this performance issue is an IE add-on that gets installed by the latest revision of the Skype software. To resolve this issue quickly, please open Managed Add-Ons and disable the installed Skype IE add-on. So far, we are only seeing this issue with this specific version of Skype in conjunction with Internet Explorer 8,” revealed a member of the IE support team.
Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) RTW is available for download here (for 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008).