Skype announced today further integrations into Microsoft’s suite of online tools, with news that access to the communications app is now available while working in Office Online and OneDrive. This is an expansion of the earlier announcement from this past October, which then introduced the ability to use Skype voice and video from Office Online and Outlook.com. Starting now, Microsoft says that you’ll be able to call or chat with friends while using its cloud storage service, OneDrive, both while viewing the contents of online folders or while editing documents directly in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
When using Skype from OneDrive, files open up in Office Online where you can begin to co-edit with Skype’s messaging interface to the right of the screen. When this feature is used, your chat history will remain connected to the document in question and will appear again each time the document is re-opened.
The larger context here is that Microsoft wants to make Skype an integral part of its productivity software, whether that’s in its desktop software, using Office online, or accessing files wherever they may be found – like OneDrive or email, for example.
The news also comes at a time when Microsoft is said to be doubling down on its investment in Skype, having mulled then passed over an $8 billion bid for Slack in favor of its own communications software. Slack has succeeded in claiming mindshare in the business world, to the tune of 2.3 million daily active users – notable growth for the startup.
However, Microsoft Office’s install base dwarfs that – the company said last fall that more than 1.2 billion people use Office, and Outlook.com has over 400 million active users. It makes sense then, that the company believes it can expand Skype’s footprint by way of this large, heavily used productivity suite.
In addition to the announcement of the OneDrive integration, Microsoft also noted that the Outlook.com Skype integration has now completed. Skype is available to all Outlook.com users as of today.