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May 15, 2013

SKYPE News - Microsoft Integrates Skype with

By Robbie Pleasant, TMCnet Contributor

Microsoft’s Skype (News - Alert) integration keeps on moving at a fine pace. Following the announced integration of Lync and Skype, Microsoft (News - Alert) has announced that Skype connectivity features are being added to Outlook.

With the new version of Skype for, users can make Skype video and audio calls from their inbox. It requires a download of a browser plug-in, which the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome can access.

From there, they can use a Microsoft account to connect Skype to, where they can choose between e-mail messages, instant messaging and voice or video calls from their combined contacts. Those who already have Skype accounts can manually connect it to their Microsoft account, which will merge them both.

With the completed integration, users can make calls directly from an e-mail message. They can hover the mouse over the picture of the sender, and set up a call with a simple click.

While the preview version will only be available for U.K.-based inboxes at first, those in the United States and Germany can expect to see it shortly after. Following that, we can expect a wider release for everyone using The current release date is set to be this summer, so one can assume it is shortly before the completion of Microsoft’s transition from Hotmail to Outlook.

Although unified communications portals have used click to call for some time now, integrating it with an e-mail portal is a new one. Skype and Outlook are both quite popular for both business and personal uses alike, so this integration should make users of either and both pleased with a new way to communicate.

Of course, Microsoft has been working on Skype integration for many of its devices and solutions for some time now. Aside from the aforementioned Lync integration, which is still underway, customers making calls on Windows Phone (News - Alert) 8 devices can use Skype from their phones. Integration with Outlook seems to be a logical step for the company, and may help bring unified communications to the forefront of everyday communication needs.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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