Skype for Outlook.com, the integration of Skype’s messaging features into Microsoft’s webmail platform, is now available worldwide, the company is announcing this morning. To get started with the feature, users must first download a web browser plugin, which is available for IE, Chrome, Firefox and now, Safari, browsers.
Afterwards, those who already have Skype accounts can link them to Outlook. If you haven’t yet signed up for Skype, you can instead use your Microsoft account to sign in.
Once installed, Skype users can place video and audio calls right from their email inbox. And today, Microsoft notes that’s it’s also adding support for HD video calling for PC users, while also fixing earlier bugs some users had experienced with calls continuing to ring after pick-up when they were running the Outlook.com plugin and Skype on their desktop at the same time.
The HD calling feature only works when users have compatible HD displays, web cams, messaging clients, and broadband internet, Microsoft notes.
The company had previously introduced Skype for Outlook.com in a preview mode for select markets last year, including the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Brazil and Canada. Now Microsoft is making the service available worldwide, though presumably, this could still be a staged rollout.
The integration offers a Microsoft-flavored competitor to Google’s Gmail + Hangouts features, which also combines a messaging and voice client in users inboxes, in Google’s case, Gmail. As for Microsoft, the combination of the two services could lead to a wider footprint for both Outlook and Skype, the former of which has over 400 million users.