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How Skype On Xbox Could Destroy The Line Between Work And Play

May 1, 2013 | Telepresence Options

kinect leaderboard


Story and Images by Mark Hachman / ReadWrite

After months of promises, Microsoft finally�integrated Skype with Outlook.com,�its cloud email and calendaring service. But for its next act, Microsoft may well put Skype on its Xbox console -- a move with far more intriguing, and even disturbing, ramifications.

As of today, a select group of Outlook.com users in the UK can begin placing video or voice calls, or sending instant messages, to their existing Skype contacts. Within Outlook, users will have a choice: traditional email will work as before, although the new "Messaging" options will trigger the Skype capabilities. Users can either type in a friend's name within People, or -- in a nice touch -- simply click on their picture to launch a message.

Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for Skype two years ago in order to "adapt to a changing market, primarily characterised by permanent and ubiquitous connectivity," as�the IT analyst outfit Duquesne Group put it at the time. So far, Microsoft has steadily moved Skype forward as its ubiquitous communications interface across PCs, Windows tablets, and smartphones. That leaves the Xbox.

Video Kinect To Xbox Skype?

It's virtually a given that Skype will come to the living room. In February, Giovanni Mezgec, a Skype enterprise product marketing manager, told me that Skype users at home might use a "set-top box" -- like, say, the Xbox! -- to access the service.

"You are the same time a consumer, the same time a mother, the same time an employee, the same time a person that travels on the bus, you get the idea," he said in an interview at the time. "What we wanted to do was to offer a set of tools from the living room to the boardroom, a communication platform that is rationalized, but different."

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