Skype for Outlook.com finally available to all, gains HD video calling

Ten months ago, Microsoft announced it would be rolling out a preview version of Skype for Outlook.com in the United Kingdom that would allow users to make audio and video calls directly from their inboxes.

Three months later, the devices and services giant expanded the preview’s availability to five additional countries -- United States, Canada, Germany, France and Brazil -- and stated it would be rolling out the feature to the rest of the world "in the coming weeks". A mere seven months later and finally, today, Microsoft makes good on that promise, announcing that Skype for Outlook.com is now available to all. The service also gains support for HD video calls.

In a new blog post, Karen Tong, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Skype, writes: "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. If you haven’t had a chance to it check out, getting started is easy. 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! The latest version of the plugin now has Mac support for Safari, so you have even more ways to connect with the people who matter".

As well as allowing users to make and receive HD video calls (provided they have HD compatible displays and webcams of course), Microsoft squashes a bug which caused calls to continue to ring after pick-up for users who were running both Skype and the Outlook.com plugin at the same time.

It might have taken Microsoft a ridiculously long time to make the feature available to all users of its webmail service (Karen Tong's blog post is headed "Skype Brings the World Closer Together, One Inbox at a Time", which is rather apt), but it got there in the end. Do you use Skype for Outlook.com?

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