Microsoft adds ability to call phones to Skype for Web

Microsoft is adding new capabilities to its Skype for Web, as well as its Skype for Business services. Skype for Web users can now call cell phones and landlines directly.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has updated its Skype for Web offering with the ability to call mobile phones and landlines.


Users can make international calls directly from Skype for Web to cell phones or landlines using Skype credits or subscriptions, company officials said on March 14.

To access Skype for Web, users can go to Skype.com or web.skype.com and sign in and connect. Skype for Web, which is still in beta, alleviates the need to download the Skype app before conferencing and/or instant-messaging others.

Microsoft also added the ability to watch a YouTube video directly from inside Skype for Web via a video link. The ability to add people to a conversation, even if they're not on Skype is another feature Microsoft has brought to Skype for Web, execs said. And if users are signed into Skype for Web, they now will receive notifications even if they're in another tab or app.

In other Skype news -- though on the business side of the house, not the consumer one -- Microsoft last week expanded the availability of its PSTN conferencing to 17 additional countries, bringing the total number of countries where PSTN conferencing is available to to 32. Microsoft officials say that number will be nearly 100 by the end of June 2016. PSTN conferencing is public switched telephone network conferencing.

There's a new Cloud Connector Edition of Skype for Business Server coming in April. The Cloud Connector Edition will allow users to connect existing phone lines/number to Office 365 using optimized, preconfigured virtual machine images.

In addition, Microsoft and conferencing equipment vendors also launched a new initiative, codenamed "Project Rigel" to bring the Skype Meeting experience that will be featured on Microsoft Surface Hubs -- whenever they are finally available -- to any meeting room with a display or projector. Via Project Rigel, Windows 10 devices will be able to control Skype for Business online meetings and remotely connect users starting in the second half of 2016.

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