Microsoft has announced that its Skype integration in Outlook.com is now complete and live for users worldwide.
The company originally revealed in April 2013 that a preview of the integration would begin to roll out, and the UK be among the first to have access. That test release became available in a total of six countries four months later but has now launched for everyone. The mishmash of Microsoft services allows users to make Skype video calls directly from their Outlook.com email accounts.
"With Skype for Outlook.com, you can easily connect with your Skype friends right from your Outlook.com inbox, so you can go from chat or email to a video call with just one click," explained Microsoft in a blog post, noting that users must first install the plug-in for Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer and link a Skype account.
According to Microsoft, Skype for Outlook.com now supports HD video calling for PC users. The company also fixed an issue where some users' calls continued to ring after pick-up when running the Outlook.com plugin and Skype on desktop at the same time. And finally, the latest version of the plugin now has Mac support for Safari.
Skype integration in Outlook.com is meant to bolster the Outlook email service, especially because of growing competition from Google's Gmail and Hangout services. In fact, Microsoft once cited a poll that claimed 76 per cent of people “say that their email conversations frequently or occasionally result in a follow-up phone or video call”. Microsoft is therefore likely hoping to hook that percentage of people who need more from their email.