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Skype releases video-calling beta for Macs

Software is designed to enable free video calls between Skype users with Windows or Mac machines.

Skype on Thursday released a beta version of its video call feature for Macintosh users, a move designed to bring more people into a Skype community dominated by Windows PCs.

Skype for Mac 2.0 is designed to allow Skype users to make free Internet-based video calls to other Skype users who have a Macintosh or Windows system. The company has been working on a Mac video version of its voice over Internet Protocol service for a while, but it was not ready for prime time in July when Skype released the beta of Mac OS X 1.5, a voice-only version of the software.

"Our community is made up of both Mac and Windows users," Stefan Oberg, Skype's product management director, said in a statement. "We couldn't be more excited to bring these two groups together, literally face-to-face."

While video calls to other Skype users are free, calls to traditional or mobile phones will incur a charge.

Users of the Skype Mac video service will need Mac OS X, version 10.3.9 Panther or later, a system with a G4, G5 or Intel processor running at a minimum of 800MHz, 512MB of RAM and 40MB of free disk space.

In addition to the Mac 2.0 beta, the company also released the final version of Mac OS X 1.5.