Microsoft is broadening the group of users to whom free Skype group video and voice calling is available.
On August 3, Microsoft added the free video/voice calling options for those in the Skype for Web beta, as well as those using Skype integrated directly into Outlook.com.
Microsoft officials said last year that the company would be phasing out paid Skype group video calling over time. Last April, Microsoft made Skype group chat available for free, with no expiration date, on Windows desktop, Mac and Xbox One.Starting August 3, Microsoft also is adding the free group voice and video call options alongside the group IM/chat option. Users can add up to 25 people to a voice call and up to 10 to a video call via the new services.
Microsoft is currently beta testing the version of Skype that runs inside a browser and doesn't require a downloaded Skype app to work.
Why is Microsoft making more of its Skype (and other previously paid) services and apps available for free? It's part of the company's move toward freemium and/or ad-supported business models.
Just a quick reminder for those wondering what's happening with Skype for Windows 10: Microsoft recently dropped support of its "Modern"/Metro Style Skype app on all devices other than ARM-based tablets. The company is continuing to offer a desktop Skype version of its integrated Skype app, and is working on new, separate Skype Messaging, Calling and Video Universal Windows apps.