Skype on Outlook.com Goes Global
Microsoft today announced that the company has completed the rollout of its Skype on Outlook.com feature.
Karen Tong, a senior product marketing manager for Skype, stated in a Feb. 4 blog post that Skype for Outlook.com was live worldwide, following a staggered rollout of the service that began last year. The feature enables users of Microsoft's Webmail service to place Skype video and voice calls and initiate chats directly from the browser window.
"Just download the plugin, link your Skype account to find your friends and start a video call or send an instant message without having to leave your inbox," stated Tong. An updated version of the browser plug-in now offers support for Safari under Mac OS X. PC users can download a plug-in that enables HD video calling.
Microsoft also remedied a lingering annoyance that affected a specific use case. Tong said that some users "experienced issues with calls continuing to ring after pick-up when you were running the Outlook.com plugin and Skype on your desktop at the same time."
"We're happy to share that in the new version now available we've resolved this issue," stated Tong.
The software giant snapped up Skype in 2011 for a hefty $8.5 billion. Skype's CEO Tony Bates, who just left Microsoft amid an executive shake-up led by CEO Satya Nadella, said upon the deal's completion that the acquisition "represents a huge leap forward in Skype's mission to be the communication choice for a billion people every day. Joining forces with Microsoft is the best way to accelerate this mission and capitalize on our position at the intersection of social, mobile and video communications."
Since then, Microsoft has been working non-stop on integrating the pioneering voice-over-IP (VoIP) and video communications tech into practically every part of the company's sweeping technology portfolio. Skype ships with Windows 8.1 and the Xbox One, and the company has bridged the consumer offering with Lync, Microsoft's enterprise communications software product.
Over 10,000 Lync customers have signed up to connect both platforms, revealed Giovanni Mezgec, general manager for Skype and Lync, to eWEEK last month. By integrating Skype and rolling out new Lync apps and capabilities, Microsoft's aim is to "enable anybody in an organization to talk to anyone else—in and out of said organization," he added.
Skype's popularity has made it a target for hackers. On New Year's Day, the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) took control of Skype's Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as its service blog. Although no user data was compromised, the incident did result in some negative, if short-lived, anti-Microsoft tweets. "Don't use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook), they are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the government," read one of the Jan. 1 tweets issued by the hacked @Skype Twitter account.