If you are one of those users who toggle between email and Skype desktop clients on your Windows PC, Microsoft can now offer you a time saver. Fulfilling a promise made in July, the software giant is now releasing an updated Skype for Windows, version 6.1, with Outlook integration. 

Users of Outlook 2010 and 2013 who update to the latest Skype version will now see a Skype online status and mood message when viewing an Outlook contact card. A Skype call or IM session can be initiated directly from the Card, so there is no need to exit Outlook in order to enter those functions.

Enhancements, Bug Fixes

It's now also possible to instant message or make audio/video calls from Outlook to anyone who is already in your Skype contacts list.

In addition to the Outlook integration, Skype 6.1 for Windows includes several enhancements. Adding a contact in Skype now requires only two clicks, which can be done from the results that come up in a search initiated within the contact list. Additionally, Skype profile information also now includes account information and management options.

Skype contact info within Outlook.png

Skype contact info within Outlook

The Skype update is available for machines running 32- and 64-bit versions of XP, Visa and Windows 7. This version also includes several bug fixes relating to accessibility, SMS and calling.

The New Skype

Skype has been receiving a lot of attention from Microsoft in the last few months, as the company’s US$ 8.5 billion acquisition evolves into becoming a key productivity and communications product in the company’s arsenal.

Earlier this week, for instance, the company emailed all Messenger account users to let them know that, as they had been warned in November, Messenger will be completing its lifespan by March 15 and all Messenger users should migrate to Skype. The exception, Microsoft said, is that Messenger will continue to be available in China.

Also in November, Microsoft launched Skype in the workspace, expanding the communications aspect of Skype into an online community for small businesses.

The company is also integrating Skype into Dynamics CRM, and it has said it is beta-testing a new kind of advertising for Skype that is not unlike an interactive service or app, such as users jointly planning a shared vacation through an ad/app provided by a travel site.