Microsoft has just announced that Skype will be fully integrated into its new Office 2013 suite.
Last year Microsoft bought Skype for a whopping $8.5 billion. The deal left many people wondering what Microsoft was planning for Skype. Would they leave it as is? Or did they have a master plan for the popular video chat, IM and VoIP platform.
With the latest Office 2013 announcement it looks like Microsoft had big plans all along.
At the moment Office currently has its own video chat/IM/online call software called Lync. It seems that with the new version of Office Lync will still be around. However, there is going to be some heavy integration with Skype. It will be interesting to see if Skype users will be able to communicate with Lync users and vice-versa.
Microsoft also revealed that users who sign up for the new Office 365 subscription service will receive 60 minutes of Skype credit each month, which they’ll be able to use to call landlines.
Another of the interesting new features of Office 2013 is its focus on touch screen compatibility. With the announcement of the Surface and Windows 8′s strong leaning towards touchscreens it makes perfect sense that the new version of Office would have been built with touch screens in mind.
Cloud computing also features heavily in Office 2013. Microsoft’s SkyDrive will allow users to access their documents online and offline, then they’ll automatically sync when required. With Office on Demand users with a subscription will also be able to use Office on machines it isn’t even installed on.
It’s not just Skype which is being built in to Office, Yammer, Microsoft’s secure social network for business, is also being included.
Now, Microsoft didn’t just announce the new software, they also released a preview version of the Office 365 subscription service. If you’re interested in trying it for free you’ll find it at office.com/preview.
What do you think of the Skype integration? Have you tried the preview yet? Let us know in the comments section.
And if you want to read more about this check out this Tech Crunch article.