In a technical environment it's more than common to copy/paste configuration files, URLs, code samples and such in order to inform the other chat participant about something. In that case all kinds of combination of characters may be used, even ones Skype recognises as emoticons.
Example with a URL:
:* causes Skype to show a kissing emoticon, which obviously is completely pointless here.
How do I escape the
* or whatever to avoid that? Note that I don't want to turn off emoticons or delete the emoticon-folder as that would only make me see the clear text, but any other chat partner still sees the emoticons. Everybody should see the plain text exactly as I intended no matter how he/she configured Skype.