Microsoft updates Skype for Windows with Outlook integration

Microsoft updates Skype for Windows with Outlook integration

Summary: A new version of Skype for Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP adds Outlook integration, among other features and fixes.


Microsoft's Skype division rolled out a new version of Skype for Windows (version 6.1) on January 10.

The updated version is for PCs running 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. (This is not an update for Skype for Windows 8, but since users can run Skype in the Desktop on Windows 8, they can run this update that way if they want.)

The 6.1 update allows users to call and chat with contacts directly from Microsoft Outlook; search and add contacts more easily; and manage accounts from a new profile page, according to officials.



The 6.1 update also includes a number of bug fixes. Here's Microsoft's chart that lists the 6.1 fixes:



I noticed when I just updated and installed this version a note that said future Skype updates may silently install with "future updates." I don't know if this is new. (Anyone?)



Microsoft officials sent notes to some Live Messenger users this week to remind them that Microsoft is planning to pull the plug on its Live Messenger service and replace it with Skype (which includes built-in messaging). The date when this will happen, according to those who received the email, is March 15. I, myself, never got the email even though I still am an active Live Messenger user. Not sure where in the ether (or spam folders) it may have ended up.

In preparation for the discontinuation of Live Messenger and replacement by Skype, Microsoft is prompting Live Messenger users to merge their contact lists. Once a user does this s/he is moved automatically to Skype and cannot use Messenger any longer -- at least not without a lot of support intervention on Microsoft/Skype's part. Users who accidentally or intentionally merge their contacts now may benefit from using Compact View in Skype when messaging their contacts, as WinSupersite's Paul Thurrott noted.

Microsoft's Skype unit also updated Skype for Mac to version 6.1 on January 10. The Mac update allows Skype users to dial numbers from Safari on Mac, and adds an improved user-profile view, according to a blog post detailing the update.

Topics: Collaboration, Apple, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • You can install the desktop app in Windows 8

    For those who use the desktop in Windows 8, you can install the updated Skype desktop application.
    • grayknight.. doing that will be a portall for Malware

      Thats what we need another hole for Malware to get in from. We'll need security updates every other day not like we don't get that many already.
      Over and Out
      • Skype is now

        a hole for malware?

        When did this happen?
        Michael Alan Goff
  • Xbox

    Is it just me, or is it just about impossible to believe that there's still no Skype app for Xbox with Kinect? You can find articles about this going back at least two years, with some of them even saying Skype for Xbox is coming "any day."
  • A great example of Microsoft asking so much of the end users

    This is a great example of Microsoft asking so much of the end users...

    An update for Skype for Windows Desktop that runs on Windows 8 but it not an update to the Windows 8 Skype application. Try explaining that to average consumer and/or enterprise user. My goodness, what a tangled web of words they have created for themselves with Windows 8 and it just getting started.
    • How does it ask anything of end users?

      There's nothing to explain. You install the app you want - desktop or the one from the Windows Store. Then it services itself just like the rest of Windows and other Microsoft products. I'm completely missing how this asks anything of the user?

      PCs need to be patched. You can get a Mac or Linux, not that they don't require patching as well. Or you can use Windows and just let it patch itself. If you turn the computer off at night, some day it will prompt you to "install updates and shut down." If you do that, the PC will patch itself while you go do something else. If you leave it running all the time, it's even easier - just let it sit there and if it needs patching, it'll do it in the middle of the night.

      Have you ever used Skype, or did you just find this article a convenient place to express your dissatisfaction with Microsoft? I don't use it all the time, but I've never had a single issue with the software, including figuring out what to install, patching, or anything else.
      • No dissatisfaction with Microsoft...

        @1DaveN I have no built-in dissatisfaction with Microsoft far from it. Yes, I use Skype, Office, Visual Studio and host of other MS tools and technologies. However, I am not blind to the fact that the nonmenclature for Windows 8 is leaving users baffled. My point was to highlight that fact give the difference in Windows 8 Skype and desktop Skype.

        Its called cognitive load...forcing users to think about how things work. The example being...there are actually two versions of Skype for Windows 8, as user how do I discover and decide which version if appropriate for my Windows 8 system.
        • Leaving users baffled?

          I don't know what to say, there's something wrong if you can't figure out Windows 8.

          I told my sister how to do about.... three things on Windows 8. Everything else has been the same as Windows 7.
          Michael Alan Goff
  • One of the saddest moment in history, when MS bought Skype....

    I deleted the day out of my mind :-(( My Linux Skype-client is still waiting for some important improvements. Looks like a 90s software :-(((

    Oh man i hate Microsoft so much ....
    • You made a choice...

      software on Linux are not going to get much support anytime soon... Linux owns 1.xx market share and it has been around for a while... with that kind of situation who would invest in Linux except Google? Your only chance for getting more updates is if Chromebooks get better and more popular. But that is not going to happen by tomorrow...
      Simon Tupper
    • Sounds like

      You are hating MS so that you don't have to hate yourself for going to a plateform that is not very well supported . . .
  • 1 program instead of 2 is a good thing

    While many may dis-agree with me, I like the integration of Skype and Windows Live Messenger. Keeping only 1 program up to date instead of 2 has to better (especially with the Skype Auto updater).

    According to the following link, auto updates for Skype for have been around for some time:

    I also like the fact that security with Skype is taken more seriously i.e. its IM chats, voice and video calls are encrypted. This prevents casual snooping by someone using tcpdump or Wireshark. More information on the security of Skype from the following links:

    Thank you.
    • That's not the issue...

      The Windows Live Messenger Integration is a boon. It basically gave Microsoft a free Android Client and a redundant Windows 8 and Windows Phone Client for those who prefer the Skype UI to the Messaging Hubs.

      The issue I have with this integration is how Outlook works with Skype. Right now, it's easier to just open the Skype Window and double click that person's name as the Skype integration will do nothing but do a search for their email address in the Skype client. If their IM name is not the same as the email address they registered with Skype (which can literally be an email address or alias you don't even know about) then it won't find anything.

      There really is not *integration* here. Additionally, the presence information for contacts simple does not work correctly, even with Skype running in the background. In Windows Live Mail with Live Messenger you got accurate presence and if you chose to IM that contact it opened up an IM conversation window and you could just start typing. This Skype "integration" is a train wreck and a frustrating thing to deal with as it's currently implemented.

      Maybe something is just wrong but I'm tired of uninstalling and reinstalling software. It should just work as it's intended to function. Right now, it doesn't.

      Microsoft should have just tied in the Skype Address book and allowed you to link Skype Contacts to people in "People." It's really odd that the Outlook People Hub works completely differently than the Windows 8 People Hub, even for accounts over ActiveSync. It makes absolutely no sense. It's just badly implemented and seems like a rushed feature that only half works.

      All my Skype contacts are always "Presence Unknown" and no matter if I try to IM, Skype Call, or Video Call them all it ever does it open up a search in the Skype Desktop client with their IM email address auto-populated. It's absolutely worthless and a terrible user experience.
  • Just what we needed: more Bloatware

    Wow, that picture looks freakishly ugly. As if Office and Skype aren't already becoming bloated enough. Good thing I don't use office. I can't stand the thousands of registry entries it adds, and all the crapware that comes along with it.
  • Skype to Auto-Update

    Oooh, that's no good - for those of us on metered internet. We need to be able to control when the download happens. BTW, the same reason applies as to why I don't use the Chrome browser.
    Please, just make it available to just tell us "an update is available" and we'll get it when we can afford the download.
    Crashin Chris
    • metered internet ?

      what is this, the 90's LOL....
  • Auto updates and two editions

    Within the Skype Options (Advanced) you can turn off Auto updates in Skype for Windows Classic (aka Skype for Windows Desktop).

    As for Skype for Windows 8 vs Skype for Windows Classic (I studied the Coke Classic case in business school), the latter has the full feature set while Skype for Windows 8 is a "work in progress" with respect to adding file transfer, group video calling, edit/remove chat message and screen sharing.

    I use Start8 to launch Windows 8 directly into Desktop mode and continue to use Skype for Windows Classic in the same way I did with Windows 7.
    • No need for that.

      Just boot your computer as normal and use the Windows Button to toggle between them. It's fairly simple. I don't really see why people are installing that crap on their computer just to boot to a desktop. It's thoroughly unnecessary. How often do you actually boot your PC up? 5 times a day max for me, even for a laptop (and that's being quite generous as most times I only put it to sleep and can go days between reboots). Installing a program to do something that takes literally a quarter of a second to accomplish after booting up your PC seems kind of idiotic.