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New Skype contacts desktop applications

Latest software from Net phone provider links to Opera browser and Microsoft products.

A new version of Skype Net phone software is now widely available. The latest version lets users import contacts from Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, MSN Messenger and Opera and other PC desktop applications.

The Luxembourg-based upstart has so far signed up 29 million registered users for its free Net phone calling software--a unique version of voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP--making it one of the fastest-growing services on the Net. Now it's aiming to milk profits from its swelling ranks of freeloaders with paid services that promise to make its Net-only product significantly more useful to consumers--and potentially a more lethal competitor to traditional phone providers.