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May 30, 2012

Microsoft News - Microsoft Offers Skype with OPK

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

Microsoft (News - Alert) seems to be changing its outlook on Skype, and may finally be looking to leverage the video conferencing tool in a more intelligent way. According to reports, the company will offer OEMs the opportunity to pre-install Skype (News - Alert) on their Windows PCs.

The OEM pre-installation kit (OPK) reportedly allows the silent installation of Skype 5.8 on Windows 7, and if OEMs opt in, it will significantly boost the VoIP’s number of users.

This marks another shift in Microsoft’s attention toward Skype, as a Skype app was released for the Windows Phone (News - Alert) fairly recently, despite user complaints. Problems with the technology included a lack of multitasking capabilities, as well as certain memory limitations.

The app has since been nixed for the Lumia 610, but Microsoft does not seem willing to count Skype out just yet.

The OPK will include an installation file for Skype, along with instructions on how to install the program while building custom versions of Windows 7. It will be offered as an option which the OEMs can choose not to employ, but the inclusion of this option is noteworthy for Microsoft in regard to its relationship with Skype.

Microsoft has also posted numerous job listings calling for engineers and developers to help bring the VoIP service to the Xbox 360, as well as the next-generation Xbox. Other job listings mention a Web-based app for Skype which would utilize HTML5.

Currently 400 open job positions are on offer at Microsoft, seemingly due to the company’s additional resources. This could potentially also point to Microsoft’s as-of-yet unknown future with the video-calling service.

Edited by Braden Becker

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