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Skype group video calling goes free on Mac, Windows and Xbox One

Skype

Skype has today announced that group video calling will be available to everyone for free. Whether you're wanting to chat away with friends about the latest episode of Game of Thrones, or collaborating with employees, it's now easier (and cheaper) to get started with Microsoft's communication platform. The company has removed the premium tag for group video calling on the Xbox One, Windows and Mac platforms.

Video calling through Skype was usually between two contacts, while groups had to fork out for a premium video call option (unless you managed to bag a deal). Fear not if you're worried that Windows Phone, iOS and Android haven't received similar love as the team notes they'll be looking to roll out similar updates in the future to enable free video calling for more consumers.

Source: Skype

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Reader comments

Skype group video calling goes free on Mac, Windows and Xbox One

63 Comments

That's nice...been wanting that feature for a while. Now this will kinda make me step a lil away from Google Hangouts for my conference meetings....except editing and viewing files together. This is great and hope it arrives soon Windows Phone.

Me too.

But since office.com added the auto save feature, I've also moved my editing and viewing files away from Google docs.

Seriously! I'll be even more impressed if Windows Phone gets this at the same time (or dare I even think it...no, I'd better not even contemplate /before/) Android and iOS.

My bet's that no, wp gets it after iOS for sure. Reason: WP Skype needs more important work right now and i dont think the team would be free for such things. Just a guess though.

In what way will Microsoft make money if most of their products are going free? Windows is free for screen sizes less than 10", few OEMs will make devices larger than 10" but the majority won't. Isn't what Microsoft lost enough already? Just saying...

Microsoft has (and continues to) learned how to monetize customers who are a part of their "freemium" ecosystem.  Remember that Google offers a lot of free stuff but still makes money.  MS must do this because customers often go after free before paying.  Its why Android is so huge right now which makes the customers lock into Google services.  Once locked in and ur popular enough, u can make tons of cash in other ways.  Although it may not be great in certain other ways (why so many of us here are anti-Google), MS had to either adapt or die a long and slow death.  What would u have them do as an alternative?

I think what he meant was, if Microsoft continues to go "free" like Google, then they may be forced to adopt other similar business practices such as "selling our personal information" like Google does to make money. I'm just guessing, but that's how I read the post.

Yeah, that's what I alluded to in my reply.  Its definitely not a great practice but I don't run a multi-billion dollar company and I don't know how they can compete.  Their only other option might have been to eventually fold and then all we'd have is Google/Apple.  I don't see it as a good thing but more of a, "What are we (consumers) gonna do about it?" type thing.  Few options and all of them want to make money off of us.  We just have to choose who gets it because one of them will.  Unless u drop off and use nothing that is.

Because you make it cheaper for OEMs to entice them with better margins and make your money on software sales from your unified marketplace.

 

Hangouts has free group video calling. They need to stay competitive.

After Satya's arrival it seems like things are changing alot...Good to see that...Doing Well...
But apart from that so a premium customer been downgrading..so wat they will get for their silver membership nothing huh

I would not say its because of satya's arrival. These things have been in the planning for long before that. Ballmer rule or around that time. They take time to reveal themselves. Hence they are just coming out right now. Satya has yet to prove himself for now. But I gotta say I have really big hopes for him. He feels like he will really change Microsoft around ;)

Google+ hangout is still on top for conference meetings than skype since it offers group editing and viewing. Will still be on Google+.

Uhh chill...dude... Bring it down a few notches...dont go Cray Cray because someone else asks for Skype....i personally would prefer Skype over hangouts myself

I don't know if there is any integration with Skype, but office.com allows free group viewing and editing in real time. I use it all the time with multiple people working on the same file.

With Windows 8.x snap feature, you could snap the Skype window to the left 1/3 of the screen, and then the office.com window to the rest of the screen. If you're still rocking Windows 7, you could just resize the windows manually to the same 1/3 - 2/3 of the screen.

i wonder when they will update Skype in WP to bring it in same level of usability and features as in other crap platforms....

No, Skype hasn't show the same love for WP as they have for iOS and Android. It's quite depressing knowing that you can have a better Skype experience on an Android or iPhone/iPad/iPod than on a WP, because Microsoft owes Skype! #irony

Do Xbox One owners need Gold membership? Non issue for me however that would be a boon. Its kinda silly they lock a number of services behind Gold that are free on Playstation. I say this as an Xbox diehard.