We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Microsoft links Skype voice, video calling to Outlook.com

Microsoft is rolling Skype in with its free Outlook.com email service, giving customers the ability to fire up VoIP calls directly from their mail inbox.

Within weeks the Skype for Outlook.com will be available in the U.S. and Germany, but for now is just deploying in the U.K., according to the Skype Big Blog. It will be available worldwide this summer.

[ BACKGROUND: Microsoft promises stronger ties between Lync, Skype

COMPETITION: Cisco declares war on Microsoft unified communications system ]

The new Skype service includes both audio and video calls, so together Skype and Outlook.com will support voice, video, email and instant messaging.

The Outlook.com version of Skype requires a browser plugin for Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox, but it must be the latest version of each. Using customers' Microsoft accounts, they connect Skype to Outlook.com.

Those who already have a Skype account have to manually connect it to their Microsoft account, which merges Skype and Outlook.com contacts.

Once Skype has been added to the account, Skype audio and video call buttons appear in the same window with IM chats. If a user is reading email and wants to call the sender, the user mouses over the picture of the sender that appears with the email and left clicks on the appropriate Skype button to set up the call.

Skype for Outlook.com is part of a larger effort of integrating Skype with existing Microsoft platforms. It is already integrated with the Microsoft Lync unified communication platform for voice calls, instant messaging interoperability and shared presence information.

The company promised in February to integrate Skype video calls in Lync within a year so that customers making calls on Windows Phone 8 devices can connect via Skype.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.

Read more about lans and routers in Network World's LANs & Routers section.

IDG UK Sites

How to use an Apple Watch: Everything you need to know about the Apple Watch

IDG UK Sites

Why Scottish Tablet is better than the iPad mini

IDG UK Sites

VFX Breakdowns: 10 behind-the-scenes looks at how incredible effects were created for Hollywood...

IDG UK Sites

Apple MacBook 1.1 GHz review (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015): The future of Apple laptops