Skype calls on Kinect will follow Microsoft's £5.2bn takeover
Microsoft and Skype have revealed more details about their multi-billion dollar partnership, including the news you'll be able to make Skype calls on your Xbox console using Kinect.
Richard TrenholmFormer Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
As if video calls aren't futuristic enough, soon you'll be able to control them by waving your arms around. Microsoft and Skype have revealed more details about their multi-billion dollar partnership, including the news that you'll be able to make Skype calls on your Xbox and Kinect console.
Microsoft announced that it will buy Skype today for a melon-twisting $8.5bn. That's just over five billion quid -- by far Microsoft's most expensive purchase. Skype is the biggest VoIP outfit going, with 170 million users making 207 billion minutes of calls and video calls per year. Calls are transmitted over the Internet instead of a phone line, so they're free.
Microsoft has revealed that calls and video calls will be possible on assorted Microsoft kit, including Xbox and Kinect. Imagine making a Skype video call with the arm-waving Kinect motion-control system -- you could start and end a call, or adjust the volume, by simply waving a hand. Going further, you could play Xbox games against someone a thousand miles away and see their exertions in a video call.
The mobile version of Windows, Windows Phone, will also support Skype. That means your Windows Phone 7 handset will have a video-calling app built-in, just like FaceTime video chat on the iPhone and Apple computers. The advantage is that Skype lets you call pretty much anyone, pretty much anywhere, using pretty much any computer or smart phone. FaceTime, by contrast, only calls other Apple devices.
Skype users will also be hooked into Outlook, Xbox Live and other Microsoft communities. Skype beefing up the ways to chat on Xbox Live could be a useful selling point to the hordes of disgruntled Sony PlayStation Networks users considering defection after their details were stolen recently.
Microsoft says it will continue to develop the Skype app on other devices, such as Android phones, Apple's iPhone and iPad, and Web-connected TVs. It's unclear where all this leaves Lync, Microsoft's existing communication software. Skype boss Tony Bates said the deal will "accelerate Skype's plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate".