Today Skype updated its Windows desktop application to better support and integrate with Outlook, Microsoft’s desktop email tool.

The newly integrated Skype and Outlook applications will share information, and calling capabilities. Starting with Skype 6.1 for Windows, contacts inside to of the email tool will have their Skype status shown:

11 Skype integrates its Windows app with Outlook, allowing for calls to progenerate from the desktop email tool

At the same time, users inside of Outlook can directly dial and call their contacts, provided that they are online. Skype will be launched, or maximized if the user undertakes that action.

This unifies Skype into Outlook, a move that may drive both the viability of Outlook as email increasingly move towards the browser, and raise the corporate and enterprise profile of Skype; Microsoft spent heavily to buy the VoIP and video calling giant, so to see it baked into its other products is hardly surprising.

The new integration requires Office 2010 or newer – Office 2013, naturally – and connects contacts between your email and Skype systems by matching their listed email accounts. This won’t be perfect, as certain people use different email addresses for varying services, but it should be a strong, if partial solution.

Also in Skype 6.1 is improved contact creation, and an improved profile view. Those changes mirror upgrades made earlier today to the Mac desktop application.

Microsoft is in the process of moving its Messenger users to Skype, just as it is moving its Hotmail.com users to its Outlook.com service. Thus, Microsoft is moving all customers’ communication needs to two brands: Outlook, and Skype.

Given that Skype chat will be baked into Outlook.com, to see Skype calling built into Outlook’s desktop app is quite understandable. Expect more such integration in the coming weeks and months.

Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble