Microsoft today launched Skype for Outlook.com worldwide, expanding the service that was previously only available to a select few countries. At the same time, the company has added new features and fixed a few bugs in the previous version.
A preview of Skype’s integration into Outlook.com first showed up in April, but only UK users could use the full range of Skype services in their inbox: voice calls, video calls, and messaging. In August, the service arrived in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Canada, and Brazil. At the time, Microsoft said worldwide availability would come “in the near future,” which apparently translates to seven months later.
As its name implies, Skype for Outlook.com lets you connect with your Skype friends right from your Outlook.com inbox. Once a user links their Outlook.com account with Skype, they are prompted to install a plugin which enables the integration.
The latest version of the plugin now has Safari for Mac support, in addition to versions for Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. Furthermore, today’s release also now supports HD video calling for PC users, with the following fine print: “both users must have compatible HD displays, web cams, messaging clients, and broadband internet.” Among the various bug fixes, Skype has also addressed an issue with calls continuing to ring after pick-up when users had the Outlook.com plugin and Skype on their desktop running at the same time.
Skype is playing an increasingly big part in Microsoft’s consumer strategy, and Outlook.com integration is a big move. Now that it’s available worldwide, we’ll be watching for usage and reliability numbers to see if the company’s bet pays off.
See also – Outlook.com now has 400m active accounts as Microsoft completes Hotmail migration, including 125m mobile users and Microsoft completes Lync integration into Skype, offers one unified communications platform for Windows and Mac
Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble