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thelostone
28-02-2012, 07:00 PM
It looks as if the purchase of Skype is going to start paying dividends for Microsoft as the firm has just announced the release of the Skype app.

A beta version of the app will be available very soon and the official launch is expected to happen in April.

Skype is a video-call and chat application that allows you to chat with people using your data connection and not your minutes.

This news ties in nicely with the news of the Nokia Lumia 900, a high-end Windows Phone that boasts a first for the Lumia range: a front-facing camera for video calls.

Features for the Skype for Windows Phone app include Microsoft's signature Metro style interface, free Skype-to-Skype audio and video calling over 3G and WiFi, multiparty instant messaging and the ability to call landlines and mobile numbers via Skype Out.

Whilst we're not quite at the stage where Skype is built into the operating system at a base level, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn currently are, the app is a big step forward and a useful one for those who like to keep in touch with loved ones via the world's most popular VoIP solution.

Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011 for an estimated $8.5 billion dollars, a figure that some critics said was a waste of money.

However, considering Microsoft's push into creating products that all seamlessly work together, a la Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox Live, adding over half a billion subscribers and voice chat functionality seems like a particularly large feather in Microsoft's cap, and one that can give Apple's FaceTime and Google's Chat alternatives a run for their money.