Microsoft is testing an update for Edge that will introduce a new Skype integration to the web browser.
In the latest early access build, available to members of the Edge Insider program, users can immediately launch into a Skype video call using the “Meet now” button positioned next to the address bar.
Clicking the button will open a pop-up panel that lets users name their meeting, create a link that others can use to dial in, and join a separate meeting using a link provided by someone else.
An unexpected alliance
To the untrained eye, it may seem unremarkable that Microsoft is moving to blend together Edge and Skype, which it purchased in 2011 for a whopping $8.5 billion. But in the context of the meteoric rise of Microsoft Teams, the latest Edge update appears strange indeed.
Since the start of the pandemic and transition to remote working, Microsoft Teams has emerged as the company’s flagship communication platform. The latest data suggests the service now boasts more than 270 million monthly active users.
Not only has Microsoft delivered a constant stream of feature updates for Teams, but the platform has also been built into the heart of the company’s new Windows 11 operating system, with a Teams icon affixed permanently to the taskbar. In years gone by, it was Skype that was installed by default on the Windows platform.
Given this state of affairs, and the closure of Skype for Business in 2021, the widespread assumption was that Microsoft would continue to invest fewer and fewer resources into the Skype brand moving forward. In turn, all the indicators suggest the company will attempt to push Teams further into the consumer market.
However, the latest early-access Edge build suggests there is life in Skype yet. Whether the update is an indication of a deliberate campaign to revive the older platform, or simply an attempt to service the remaining pool of users, will become clear with time.
- Also check out our list of the best collaboration platforms around
Via Windows Central (opens in new tab)