Skype Calling is Now Available on Alexa

Posted on November 19, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Skype, Smart Home with 16 Comments

Two months after Amazon announced that Skype video calling would become available on its Echo Show smart display, Microsoft has brought Skype calling—audio and video—to the Alexa platform.

“Use Alexa to call friends and family on Skype or call mobiles and landlines in up to 150 countries worldwide,” a Microsoft website describing the integration explains. “[You can] reach friends, family or colleagues with 100 minutes of free calls per month for two months when you link Skype with Alexa.”

Amazon announced Skype video calling coming to its second-generation Echo Show as part of a broader wave of product announcements in September. As I noted at the time, the news was yet another nail in Cortana’s coffin. But Microsoft has embraced Alexa even more since then: The software giant is even selling Amazon Echo smart devices from its retail and online stores now.

Last week, Mehedi reported on how Skype calling would work on Echo devices. And there was a bit of a hint there that this functionality would extend beyond the Echo Show and include smart speakers as well as smart displays. Now, we can see that this is true: Skype integration can work with any modern Alexa-compatible device.

Ah well.

 

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Skype Calling is Now Available on Alexa”

  1. bart

    Good on MS, even if its to bring its service, Skype, to more platforms

  2. bassoprofundo

    Anyone else not see the options they mention to set this up? The explanation article says to set up the Alexa app, then "Go to Settings > Communication > Skype to link your accounts." There's no "Communication" item under the Alexa app's settings screen. I've checked both iOS and Android (and the web version). Or are they talking about literally doing the setup on the Alexa device? Since the non-display Echos are also compatible, that doesn't make much sense to me if so...

  3. BoItmanLives

    Wishful thinking as nobody actually uses Skype anymore.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to BoItmanLives:

      We aren't seeing that with customers or partners. It's still all Skype. And this integration is nice - MS still proving they are the only company willing to support all platforms today.

      • Tony Barrett

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        I think your assumptions are wrong. This 'tie up' between Amazon and Microsoft will only benefit Amazon in the end. Because Cortana has failed, MS have little input to feed their AI backend. What we see at the front end is more about MS clinging on in desperation, and Amazon handing MS a carrot. At the backend, I'm sure MS will have some access to the huge amounts of data Amazon collect from Alexa, which is what it's all about really. Amazon just have another avenue to people buying things from them - which is what they want. Remember, whoever owns the data is king - and data is what it's all about.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to ghostrider:

          You are missing it. The way Microsoft is operating, in this case, has not changed from 20 years ago, Microsoft has always been an open platform supporting third party Vendors. That is all they are doing here. If Google wants in, or Apple, there would be no objection to Cortana being on their platforms. This is in no way telegraphing anything about MS's master plan for Cortana.


          The biggest change to Microsoft's third party vendors has been PC devices - this was prompted by the OEMs absolute failure to push PC platform forward in the face of Apple's iPad and Googles distraction with Chrome Books. If MS had not jumped in with Surface Devices history would look very different from what it is today.


          We are lucky that MS has been the best run tech company over the last decade without them we could have had a very bad and watered down software future to get through.

          • Tony Barrett

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            Really? MS have always been one of the most 'closed source' companies on the planet. Windows was their crown jewels, and they systematically destroyed ANY competition. Remember Lotus, Wordperfect, Novell, Netscape? Steve Balmer famously stated he wanted to destroy Linux! What now, we're meant to believe MS are embracing all competition? No, the real reason is failure after failure in the consumer space has forced their hand. Apple, Google and Amazon have literally removed all Microsoft's consumer ambitions from right under their nose, and MS just sat back thinking they were invulnerable. Now, MS have no choice but to fight over the consumer scraps, and entering into partnerships they'd probably rather not have to. Only Amazon will benefit from this in the end. Cortana is yet another failed system, mainly because MS failed in mobile time after time, and that's where an assistant is best suited. Amazon will get what they need from this, and MS will only lose out.

            The overall winners in all this though will probably be Google, as nobody holds all the pieces they do.

  4. HellcatM

    So Microsoft is selling Alexa devices but now you can call on Skype with Alexa so that sounds like an ok agreement. Hopefully now more people will use Skype, if they use it on their Alexa device maybe he'll use it on their phones, tablets and computers...maybe.

  5. Angusmatheson

    As much as Apple blowing their purchased digital assistant lead with Siri and Microsoft blowing their purchased mobile lead the Sidekick - I cannot believe how Microsoft let their purchased lead in video calling lapse with Skype. It was brilliant product years ahead of its time. Why should say we Skype when we video call like we Google when we search. But we do not. Integrating with Alexa is necessary for any hope of growth a but it is too late. Apple and Google have their own video chat features and will not use Skype. But will Amazon keep using Microsoft’s product for long?

  6. bobmi

    Has anyone actually gotten this to work on an Android phone (Android 8.1)? I go through the steps but is always ends with a web page that says to download the Alexa app. Its already on the phone so I just get back to the initial 'Skype calling iwth Alexa' sign-in page. I've tried removing two factor authentication but that has no impact.

    • phuor

      In reply to BobMI:

      I'm using Firefox as default on my phone and that didn't redirect correctly.


      To make it work I had to make chrome the default again and then the final step was redirecting me back to the Alexa app to complete the account linking.

  7. james_wilson

    I don't get a 'Communications' option under settings in the Alexa app on iOS. Is this a US thing?

  8. dfroemke

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but what happens after the 100 minutes of free minutes? Further, I don't think I've ever paid for an on network Skype regardless of the device I've made it on.

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