Microsoft reportedly putting Skype at center of communications for all devices and services

We can file this one under “saw it coming from a mile away” but Computer and Video Games (CVG.com) has quoted an unnamed source who states Microsoft will be "consolidating all their communications technology" around the Skype platform. That includes the next generation Xbox, PCs, Tablets and in a way, even on our phones.

The move is of course far from shocking as Microsoft spent $8 billion to buy the famous VOIP company Skype for a reason. In fact, we’ve already started to see this happening with Microsoft collapsing MSN Messenger into Skype Chat, a process going on as we speak (except for China).  Another recent example would be using your Microsoft Account for Skype logins.

But now there are hints that Skype will be the default chat client for everything, presumably even game chat and regular voice communication on Xbox instead of just an add-on app to the service. That distinction is crucial as it means Microsoft is serious about putting Skype at the center of everything in the company, finally reducing all communication to one.

CVG points out that Microsoft was recently seeking a user interface designer for the "next gen Xbox", with the job being located in Skype’s UK office.  With Kinect 2 rumored for the Xbox 720 (or whatever it will be called) and some other crazy ideas that the company is working on, it will be interesting to see how deep Skype goes into Windows 8 and related products in the future.

Microsoft still has a lot of work cut out for them though with Skype as they try to clean it up and make it more “universal”. In fact, we’re still kind of shocked that there isn’t a Skype for Xbox 360, but we’re sure something will be said at E3 later this year.

Source: CVG


Reader comments

Microsoft reportedly putting Skype at center of communications for all devices and services


Most people I know use Steam, Teamspeak and xfire... I have always had Skype installed many friends are always actively on it but we normally just use Steam.

WTF are Steam, Teamspeak, Xfire and Ventrilo? Skype is THE thing since it's birth. Please tell me those who haven't used it are all 50ish by age. Please.

I Skype at least 2ice a week. I video call my parents and brother instead of a regular call. First off, its free. Secondly, I see them as well.

Those are all for gamers - normal people wouldn't use them. I've used Skype while gaming but have experienced occassional lag. Messenger is better for 1-1 chat, but it doesn't do group voice chat.

The only people I know that use Skype use it to call family and friends over seas. I've had an account for years but have not used it once.

Definitely no surprise.  They should integrate it with everything, and make it completely seamless on all platforms that MS powers.  It should continue to be a great add-on for non-MS powered services as a leader to their services.

I have a question here,what about Lync vs Skype? 
Will MS going to integrate Skype within their MSOffice platform?

When Skype incorporates LiveMetting features, VOIP integration, Unified Communicationn, AD Federation etc. Which translates to: not in the next 12 years.
So far Skype doesn't even have all the capabilities and stable infrastructure of Live Messenger.

It'd be nice if they made it work reliably on Windows RT, Windows 8, and WP8 first.
Also, if they're planning on making Skype the center of their communications, they really need to get rid of the ads and stop charging for premium service to be able to do group chat.  Maybe they don't necessarily have to get rid of the ads on the iOS, Mac, or Android versions of Skype, but they really should for the WinRT and WP8 versions of the app.  It looks a little silly when Microsoft's built-in chat client (since messenger is being phased out) is constantly giving you ads.

Mine works reliably on Win RT and Win 8. I do not have it installed on my WP8 since it is still a preview release. Aa far as ads go, didn't they also have ads on Messenger? I agree the ads are annoying. And yes, getting rid of the ads on Microsoft's own product would be a good idea.

Mine is not even the slightest bit reliable on Windows RT or Windows 8.  If the app is not open in the foreground, I don't generally get any notification for IMs, and call notifications are delayed if they ever even come at all.  I get lots of angry texts for being online on Skype and not responding, even though I had no idea that anything was ever sent to me.
I've had Skype open on the desktop, while also open on my Surface, and the desktop was ringing for minutes before the Surface got any notification.
Also, I don't recall if the desktop Windows Live Messenger had ads, I never used it much.  However, the Windows 8 Messaging app definitely does not.

I have no issues with Skype. Once in a while switching cameras (front/back) doesn't work on RT. But that is no issue. Front camera always works.

I was a long time Skype user and now that I'm on wp8 and win8&RT, it works for shit. Actually, shit works better than Skype now. I don't even use it anymore because I NEVER get notifications on any of devices. I've been using Facebook chat because its at least reliable on all platforms.

I never used Skype or Messenger for calling, but I heavily used WLM (the desktop version) and recently the builtin messaging Apps in W8 and WP8 for Messenger and Facebook Chat.
All that has been working perfectly untill I connected my Skype account to my MS Account. After that everything turned shit.

I agree, i dont get why i am paying 9.99 a month currently for group video chat when  i can do that with oovoo for free....
And linking your facebook account with skype is a bad idea if you have windows phone and skype insitalled in your phone......i get the skype message first then i get facebook message ......

I'm sure this consolidation move also makes things easier for Microsoft because rather than managing servers for various different communications services, they can just manage the Skype ones. Sure, they'll have to beef up that infrastructure to handle all the new users, but that's a minor thing.

Guess I'm gonna have to start paying monthly. I would really enjoy the screen sharing feature and group chats on my Surface.

Quite honestly I have Skype and never use it.
I still have MSN Messenger and I'll keep with it until the end since, unlike Skype, MSN gives me a quick access button to my email with a counter to tell me how many emails arrived. And spares me the problem of having to keep denying phone and video-calls. If I want to chat using my voice, I prefer to go out and have a coffee with the person.
After MSN closes I have no plans whatsoever to move to Skype. If I want to chat with friends, I rather use the Facebook chat. So this integration is completely irrelevant to me.

No, I won't. For text chat I'll use the facebook chat and for voice conversations I'll use either normal phonecalls (which, fyi, I don't pay for. Just so you don't think I'm mad) or I'll just meet the friend who wants to chat.
IF Microsoft changes Skype to remove the annoying adds, place a quick email-launcher button (like MSN has), and places an option to not allow people to see if I have a mic and camera, I may consider using it, but at it's current form I will not use it.

Everybody is on Facebook. The only people I know who are NOT on Facebook are my grandparents. And those barely use their cellphones, let alone computers or smartphones.
Welcome to the XXI century.

I'm pretty sure there is an option to hide your mic/cam status. What "annoying ads" are you talking about? Messenger has banner advertisements everywhere, but Skype only has them for it's own services and once you click the cross you never see them again. Do you really need a quick email launcher?! I've had an email button on my keyboards for at least 13 years and have never used them once. Is it really that hard to have a bookmark in your browser?

Yes. It's useful to me to have a quick launcher that gives me the number of emails (like WP does). My Microsoft keyboard doesn't have such buttons and Bookmarks aren't practical because my work involves a lot of research and I have both Chrome and Firefox already filled with tons of bookmarks. The option I'll use will have to be to create a launcher button on Google Chrome I guess..

Not gonna try to convince anyone to use a service they don't want to use. But what about those family members who live far away and you can't just sit down for a cup of coffee or for lunch? My nieces live in California. My wife and I in Massachusetts. Skype is the only way we can feasibly communicate and affordably see our nieces.

I do understand that. My sister moved to Belgium and my mother uses Skype to chat with her. Still, the service in that aspect isn't that good unless you have a really good computer on both sides of the call. And if you use WiFi, the call quality is really crappy. MSN camera conversations actually worked better in that aspect. Not only that but I, personally, don't need to *see* my sister that often. But I do understand the use of Skype to people who need to communicate from afar. As far as I go, facebook chat and sms/calls are enough to satisfy me. The reason I still have MSN is due to that email button. But I can always add a button to Chrome to get me there anyway. So, that's why I'm not moving to Skype as it is. Maybe in a year, once the MSN integration is complete and all sorted out I'll give it another chance (since I also have it on WP anyway...)

The text-chatting side of Skype is far superior to Messenger. It's much easier to copy links or text from the chat, and also your chat history is stored in the cloud and accessible from anywhere.

Actually I never had any problems with MSN. As for the conversations, well I don't keep records since over here that is against the Law.

I should do the same then, go out for coffee with my family....oh wait, I can't do that, my family lives 16,000 miles away.

This is extremely good if they figured out how to implement this strategy on windows phone.... After debacle of Xbox music, Zune, Xbox video, I have doubts in their ability to deliver on their promises.

I was happy when the combined the MSN accounts into skype, I have used skype, but very infrequently. I thought with the port of the accounts, those accounts would automatically gain skype calling features and so on, but they dont, its just chat! So its kind of useless.

Wish they would get text messages working right so I can cancel my messaging plan.....right now you can send but not receive text.

It's a mess on WP8 right now. It needs some major work.

This will compete well with face time and ichat if done well. Plus be platform independent.

been using msn messenger for over 10 years! switched to skype on saturday 12th deleted it sunday 13th absolute crap cant get e-mail's on it wtf!!!! very disappointed i want messenger back now!

If you put the Skype app on a movile device with wireless 4G data and you get a Skype number you now have a smartphone without the smartphone voice plan.

My thing, as far as WP is concerned, is that why can't we get some television commercials outlining Skype integration in WP? I know its not perfection yet, but when it is updated, or fully integrated into the platform, they need to BRAG about it. Apple brags about every little thing they do insinuating that its their innovation when the majority of the time its not,, this is why so many people think it's the best device. With WP MS needs to start really showing what you get, what's different, what's innovative, and how safe and secure WP is compared to other platforms.. While I do believe WP advertising is much better than ever I still see a ton of room for improvement.. One example,,, I work at DFW airport here in Dallas, TX and Samsung has the GS3 advertised EVERYWHERE! I mean they have it everywhere!! Even the charging stations are GS3 charging stations... This is amazing marketing and I just don't see why WP can't get the same treatment in public facilities.. My point is that WP needs to be forced on the public. Its a tough market and it has to be hit hard to make an impact. We could be doing a lot better..

They did show off Skype on TV, even before that half-baked Skype app was out. And there is no integrating with WP, so how do they advertise it?

I'm saying when there is more integration, and actually the Skype app, even though temporarily disabled, does integrate with the people hub... Wow, you sound like you don't like my idea of more focused advertising... That doesn't help anything.

Its good they don't show it. If people bought WP for the Skype integration they would be sadly disappointed. They need to FIX it and MAKE IT WORK before they can gain anything by advertising it...

I totally agree with that. But, when Skype is better integrated they need to let the public know about it.. Out of all the good things that we know about WP and our platform a very small percentage actually gets advertised. It doesn't do any good if the general public is not educated properly about the benefits of WP, so actually my comment isn't just about Skype, but merely using it as an example,, but, I do agree with you that MS needs to make better use of Skype in WP before they open their mouths. Lol!

Skype needs far better reliability and UI. It's simply inferior to other Microsoft offerings that it is phasing out or limiting.

And still there service is only working flawless on W7 and iPhone. Don't know about the Android version.

Yup, total garbage.... I hate it... 
It has been stripped from all of its functionnalities. That thing is so barebone.... freaking ridiculous

I'm sure they going to put together killer skype integration on our phones... after they get done doing it for android and iphone.

I hope they put fixing all of Skype's issues on both Windows 8 and WP8 at the center of their focus. Skype is so crappy to use right now, its shameful that they let it sit in its current state. My microphone on my Windows 8 laptop doesn't work with Skype anymore (either the app or desktop version) and it constantly disconnects. Favorites don't sync between ANY versions, not WP8, Windows 8 app, or Windows 8 desktop. The whole thing is a mess and they need to fix it now before they consolidate all their communications into Skype.

The only way it'll work is if they integrate it into Outlook. Google's stolen a march on them by integrating chat and video so heavily into Gmail. It's pretty much all anyone my age uses. 

It's a long shot but I've always wanted Skype to be integrated into the dialer of windows phone. I use Skype to make phone calls and really wanted it. N9 had Skype well implemented in that aspect but it is missing video calls.

Microsoft should first concentrate on improving the Skype experience on windows phone. It should have a deeper integration. Every OS has their integrated VOIP solution and windows phone 8 is currently lagging. Having a separate app for Skype completely defeats the purpose of having centralised hubs in the OS.

  1. Integrate skype contacts with peoples hub
  2. Integrate skype messaging with messaging hub
  3. When there is a incoming call, Skype app should not open and it should be handled like a regular call. Currently it opens Skype and it takes ages (literally) to connect with the incoming call. Sometime i drop the call because it takes such a long time to connect

Oh really? Skype on windows phone is a joke. Blackberry is going to have better integration than those that use WP. How much of a joke is that? :/

Given they (Skype) were looking for a software engineer experienced in Xbox development early last year, I'd say an Xbox release is a given.

Yep, considering thay they own Skype, its completely unacceptable. VOIP integration is such an important part of mobile today that people make purchase decisions based on that. Where is the deeper integration that microsoft promised a very long time back. I influenced 5 of my office colleagues to switch to Lumia 920 from iPhones and they were shocked when they did not find Skype on day one in the marketplace. And then, when Skype finally landed, it had pathetic implementation of online presence. It turned offline every 6 hrs. Considering that Microsoft is playing catchup in mobile OS, they should be putting extra effort in these areas.
Another thing that i very strongly beleive is that Nokia and Microsoft will have to flood the market with different variants of Lumia or maybe one more new brand. Releasing just couple of variants per year will not get them market share. Samsung floods the market with so many phones and people like that because they have so many choices.

So it's still not ready for WP 8, doesn't perform well on rt and outright sucks on WP 7.5. And I'm supposed to ditch MSN messenger for this. I would if it didn't feel like a downgrade with an abhorrent UI. In it's current state, Skype simply needs a truckload of polish. Sadly.

Notifications don't work for me either. If the app is running everything is fine. With the app closed no notification ever gets through. This is for wp8, win8, and winRT w/ latest version of the apps. So, sorry, they still have a lot of work to do.

I've only ever used Skype twice, with a friend in Australia, apart from that I am a text person. But if Skype becomes more widley available on devices such as the Xbox, it will be a one up. I have it installed on my phone and on my Windows 8 machine but never use it.

So you're only really interested in Skype only if it becomes available to use on the Xbox 360?  I don't see why Microsoft would add Skype to their Xbox platform.  Why would you want to use it on your console anyway?

I have skype on the phone and the computer.  But to me it's obvious that a skype application on xbox is needed, they have kinect video, and msn messages on the xbox, and it is like a hole, not having skype integration being theirselves the ones to have the ownership of skype.
I would like to use my tv with skype and to me it's ridiculous to buy a new camera and connected to hdmi, instead of using the kinect device attached to the xbox that is a computer, don't you see it?

On three in the UK on my old e63. It runs in background and any Skype calls come in as a normal telephone call. Works great. Needs to be implemented in same way on windows phones

I really just want Skype integrated right into the root of the OS. I think that would eliminate alot of headaches. I hope this comes in the next major OS update.

So what happens to WP7 users? We have Messenger baked in, but Skype requires that the app is open at all times. So will it seamlessly switch over to use Skype chat or will the functionality just break?

I'd settle for a version on WP that had the same functionality as the iOS one. But it would be a bit much to expect a piece of Microsoft software to work properly on a Microsoft platform I guess.

Yes, straight from official "softies", us Microsoft Cloud Partners have been told as far back as 6 months ago that Skype and Lync would soon be merged. When asked if they would keep the now famous "Skype" branding or instead go with "Lync", they were less forthcoming... Perhaps because they themselves aren't sure yet. For those unfamiliar with Lync, think "all ways of communicating in one business-ready package." It's one of those features we use to sell Office 365 to teams who have a compelling need to embrace collaboration beyond what Skype can offer. It contains, at the least, manageable and securable instant messaging, Video Conferencing, Screen sharing, Whiteboarding, Webinar presentation, and the killer and as yet not fully mature feature... Integration with VoIP phones. Everything is "presence aware", so it tells your co-workers what your availability is at the moment intelligently-- such as looking at your Outlook calendar, realizing you in an appointment or meeting, or even presenting with PowerPoint, and intelligently setting your status to "Busy" or "Do Not Disturb", etc. With apps for Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, and Android, it can even detect that you are away from your PC yet available to IM via mobile. Best of all, the presence indicators are pervasive, showing up in email messages for any of your Outlook contacts that are registered in your Lync account. Very handy to be able to click a contact in an email and immediately chat via IM. Yes, this even works in the Outlook Web Access browser-based app.

If I had to guess, I think Microsoft will take the "best of both worlds" into both Skype and Lync, keeping the Skype "Brand" for the residential/consumer market and the "Lync" for business.