Microsoft this morning announced that an improved version of Skype for Outlook.com is now rolling out to customers worldwide after a nearly year-long preview in select markets. Since I've been hobbled by this piece of junk for much of that year, I can say this. It could only be improved.
For 11 long months, anyone who uses both Skype and Outlook.com (in a web browser), as I do, has been treated to the following two bugs/annoyances:
1. When someone calls you on Skype, and you answer it with the Skype for Windows desktop application, Skype for Outlook.com keeps ringing in your web browser. And it will not stop. Do you have multiple tabs or windows open (say, with maybe SkyDrive open too)? Good. Those will ring too.
2. There is no way to disable Skype for Outlook.com, absolutely no options for controlling how it behaves. In April 2013, Microsoft simply turned this feature on whether you wanted it or not.
No, I'm not bitter. I've been complaining about these problems since last year (this feature was rolled out in the US over the summer) and as recently as last week—yes, seriously, last week—I was confronted by a confused someone on the Skype team who could not understand what all the fuss was about.
Anyway, maybe it's fixed. Finally.
As part of the worldwide rollout—you lucky devils in other parts of the world have no idea what wonders are in store for you—Microsoft revealed that it has "made some improvements that will make your experience even better." Since that's all that matters, let's see what's up with the improvements.
HD video calling. You can now make HD quality video calls with Skype for Outlook.com.
No more ringing after the call has been picked up elsewhere. This is one of the two issues I raise above. "Some of you have shared [though all of you experienced --Paul] that you have experienced issues with calls continuing to ring after pick-up when you were running the Outlook.com plugin and Skype on your desktop at the same time," a Skype blog post reads. "We're happy to share that in the new version now available we've resolved this issue."
Mac support. If you use Safari on a Mac, you can now install the required plug-in so you can use Skype for Outlook.com.
I'm tempted to install this just to see whether my other issue—the ability to configure how this works—is available too. Tempted.