Windows 8.1 RTM and Skype become one in the latest OS prerelease

The future of Skype has landed on Microsoft’s latest pre-release version of Windows 8.1 and is giving us a look at how deeply the communication app will be tied into the future of the company. The official Skype Blog has published screenshots and details pertaining to the new version of Skype and its built-in integration.

Screenshots show Skype calls being pushed directly to a user’s lock screen and presenting the options to answer the call via voice or video, respond with an instant message or completely ignore the call.

Skype now also has direct integration in Microsoft’s SkyDrive and can seamlessly pull files and photos directly into your video call. Browsing IE and want to share a webpage with a friend? Easily right click the page and select “Skype” to have an instant conversation with a contact of your choosing.

Windows 8.1 had introduced the concept of email links opening in a side window as to not completely knock you out of your Mail application; now that ability has come to Skype. If your friends sends you a link, clicking it will divide your screen in two and display the webpage in a new window, so you can continue chatting in the other.

The aforementioned version of Skype will be available this autumn when Microsoft officially launches the Windows 8.1 update. If you are a subscriber of MSDN, you can download and experience it now within the Windows 8.1 RTM edition.

Do you use Skype – are you looking forward to the improvements in Windows 8.1?

Source: Skype Blog


Reader comments

Windows 8.1 RTM and Skype become one in the latest OS prerelease


We've gotten so used to it, but this is what we used to dream about when we were kids... This is the future❕

It looks like it was, originally everybody was pretty much like "WTF Steve?" but in hindsight it's looking very wise.

Not from the Messenger app at least. You are shown to be logged in twice. I am wonder the unified experience is better if I log into Skype and keep the Messenger app offline or uninstalled.

Don't bother. Just wait 1-2 more month. The messenger is phased out and replaced by skype in all MS products.

The messaging hub should just have a similar API like the VOIP calls allowing any instant messaging app to integrate into it.

I don't think is either needed or wanted. My IM has a protocol it's enough that now I must screw things up and do push notifications with the Ms server. But to force me to buy SSL certificates just to make my free app it's loss of money. Also how can I win money if I can't serve ads since its messenger hub and not my app. And what happened when Facebook is integration and im+ and Facebook chat all need to show the same chat message? Its just too difficult to make it right. Its not as simple as an API

First, having an API doesn't mean you have to use it. 
Second, if you're not using push for your IM client, how is the user getting messages? when they open the app? once every 30 minutes with a background service? sounds like a bad experience for the end user
This is about making the experience better for end users, there are plenty of platforms where messaging isn't the main business. Facebook, Skype, Twitter DMs, etc. could all be in one place. Clients like IM+ won't be needed if the services it works with all had apps that integrated with the messaging hub. They could also provide a simple settings screen to let you choose which services from IM+ you want integrated into the hub

I won't use the API as I work for money not for your happiness as an end user of WP ecosystem. So you can remain with the happiness of an end user as the platform will be less viable for developers.

You can get free verified SSL certificates for this purpose. Also, speaking as a developer myself, user happiness = people who are more willing to give you money, so you should target the happiness and money will come.

Not if you will need to use a system API for interoperation. Then you will need real SSL certificates. You did get my bash about the happiness on WP ecosystem vs the opportunity to drive business regarding the comment you don't use the API. I still maintain my point that integration by 3rd party through API is difficult to achieve and mostly not needed. I mentioned the Facebook example with 3 providers for that type of messaging platform. Then what is user experience when messaging apps being integrated move through a twitter form of monetization with ads inserted in conversations. So I think the integration will be made by Ms as it is now for very popular services

I don't see why you would need an EV certificate to integrate with a System API. It would likely be the same as the current notifications system where if you use a certificate signed by a CA (which you can get for free using sites such as StartSSL) then you're fine.
I understand your point about the messaging integration restricting your ability to serve ads, but for all you know there could be a way of doing that. Or you could charge for your app that provides the integration. Or you could build a UI that keeps your user happier than if they were to use the Messaging app (most IM apps on WP at the moment have fairly bad UIs).

For some reason, StartSSL isn't a root certificate on windows phone (it is in windows and all desktop browsers). I'm not sure if that causes an issue for push notifications (the only place where the cert is relevant right now). 
I ended up switching to Cheap SSLs, 5$/year is good enough and works fine for my push notifications. 

an app developer who doesn't care about the end user's happiness, yea, you'll be rolling in money.

Look. I will repeat once more for you. Just once the will agree you will not judge my knowledge as a dev and I won't just your ability to be demanding and to entitled. I said that I care to be paid by my work not to give that up for your end user experience in the WP ecosystem. Meaning that integration is out of the question when you cut my ability to serve ads since you are in a WP app and not in my app. Now twist and read how you want as I told you that I respect your way of being entitled and demanding since I don't judge people. You read a comment about technical and business problems that hinder integration by API and you felt you have the right to demand that devs don't use it because you are entitled to have integration no matter the parties involved that bring you that integration (including shutting off im+ because it will not be needed since you are entitled)

it would be enough if they'd integrate very popular messengers like whats app...
but anyway they need to improve the facebook-chat integration. the existing integration is simply not reliable. and there's no groupmessaging no picture integration...

The Skype integration is looking good, but regarding the lock screen functionality, am I the only one that doesn't have my lock screen on all the time. If I'm using my Surface or PC I'm not seeing the lock screen and when I put my surface down I have about a three minute window before the screen dims. Same thing with WP8. Weather reports or images from Skydrive might be great uses for lock screen integration but a skype call has a very limited window of opportunity on which you can act on it, pushing the notification to the lock screen doesn't seem to have a lot of value as that indicates I'm not going to be able to receive it anyway.
How mamy people leave their screen going for extended periods but have the Surface or PC right in front of you to act on notifications?

I think the point being that if you get a call then you don't have to unlock your screen to see who it is, etc.

Will a Skype call light up your screen if it's dimmed? I use it mostly just for chat and then only occasionally.

lets add something that few users use, but lets skip more important fixes and features :)......

I use it mainly for instant messaging, and while other apps are better, Skype allows you to chat even while on a computer.

Absolutely nothing. Given there is also nothing to download, I haven't a clue as to what the person means....

Nothing to download? I think explosive0 is talking about downloading Win8.1 from either MSDN or TechNet.

lets see. Windows 8.1 its from micorosft and Windows Phone which 1020 has its from Microsoft as well.
if the Microsoft ecosystem works better and better, it will make people stay in the ecosystem, and since this person has 1020, he will keep it becuase he sees being in the Microsoft ecosystem is better than Apple ecosystem, because Apple doesnt seem to innovate anymore.

well... thats what i guess this person means.

I wonder if this willl be able to run in 'window' mode while in the desktop. If not it will be useless to me on my laptop/desktop and I will continue to use the stand alone version.

Just wait a couple of weeks. Surface 2 will be smoother, have a way better screen, and a better hinge.

We tried to use Skype but my wife kept getting random calls/messages from complete strangers at all hours of the day and night and we couldn't figure out how to keep that from happening so we had to delete it.

This is actuallly really easy to fix.  Under privacy just set calls/messages to allow only if they are in your contact list.  I always recommend this to everyone.

Sorry, I should have specified that this is on WP - can't find any privacy settings anwhere in the app or on the website anywhere that I can see either.

If you set it at Skype.com, it should apply to all your devices. Doesn't matter if it's WP8 or Win8.

Okay, I'm probably overlooking something then because I've checked at skype.com several times (including just now) and I don't see any privacy setting anywhere...

Not sure you can do it on skype.com, but I know you can do it on the Windows desktop client and it works on my WP

Thanks, I guess we'll have to install the desktop client because I can't find it anywhere in the WP app or on skype.com - pretty strange, would be nice if they would fix that...

I am looking forward to better presence integration between WP8 Messenger and Window 8.1 w/ Skype. Today, there two networks causing the effect of me being logged in to Skype twice. If a user clicks on the wrong contact, I sometimes to not get the message (or the message thread is not carried over which is less of a big deal). I am hoping for unified presence across WP8.1, W8 and Xbox.

RTM = Released to Manufacturing.  The release that was put on MSDN and TechNet yesterday is not a pre-release version, it's final code.  It's the same code going out to OEM's now that will be distributed on new PCs starting in October.

That's what it stands for by not exactly what it means today.  Microsoft has said that the version shipped to OEMs is still not quite complete.

Yes, I know...still doesn't make this a pre-release version.  The bits and bytes of the main OS are feature complete.  I seriously doubt there will be any major feature changes.  What's likely to be updated are the Modern UI apps.

Um... They never said that. They said they will continuously improve the OS after the RTM, but RTM is RTM. It's released to manufacturing and it's what you get when you buy Windows 8.1 Retail DVD. The only "incompleteness" is in built-in Modern apps that will be updated before GA.

Have they integrated Facebook chat? I literally give no shits about Skype and have like 5 contacts, but use the messenger app they're canning in windows 8.0 all the time to chat with my friends no matter what im doing.

any way to force your 8.1 preview to do the RTM as a upgrade ?  It is a upgrade to Windows 8 so it should be just a upgrade not needing key or anything...

Cannot wait!! Downloaded windowsphone Skype and see I can leave a video message but not yet from my Surface RT running update8.1 ver 9431. Can I get this update? Where?

Looks great. Has anyone else had trouble installing RTM? Always end up at a blank screen and the installation is auto-reverted :'(

Awesome! Windows 8.1 is amazing! I really hope WP 8.1 is just as good. Microsoft has to do something about WP8's notifications. Facebook notifications and chat don't work at all and third party app notifications are restricted to thirty minute checks.

M$FT has to make skype competitive, google's hangout with video conference and other cool features.
but to use video conference on skype with multiple friends and u have to pay a premium.

I agree! Seems like all the tech sites are using google hangouts instead if Skype. MS needs to address this. How much is the premium anyway?

Does Skype offer group video calls like google+? For free? Update- nevermind as I noticed my question was answered already above. Thanks!

I love Skype and use it every day, but there are a lot of refinements yet to be done. When i get a call or a message three devices stat ringing. Additionaly, the inability to log out on WP creates some problems for me. They need to come up with a way of prioritizing devices, based on availability. If i am locked on at my desktop, i generally don't need to be notified about anything on my phone or tablet.