Microsoft has announced that Skype calling is now available on Amazon Alexa devices. With the new feature, owners of Alexa-powered smart speakers may now call their loved ones, either through audio or video, using voice commands. To start taking advantage of this functionality, users must first open the Amazon Alexa app and proceed to the communications section of the app settings. In this section, users will find the settings for the Skype app where the user will sign in the same Microsoft account that they use on the service. The tech firm is also advising users to update their Skype apps to version 8.34 or newer for the best possible calling experience on Alexa devices. After the user has linked their Skype accounts with Amazon Alexa, users only need to mention the name of the person they want to call, as long as that person is already on their contacts list. Meanwhile, if the person they are calling is not yet on their contact list, people may read the phone number of the person to Alexa. Moreover, when the person receives a call, the Amazon Alexa device will play the Skype ringtone, and it will then mention the name of the contact that initiated the call.
Aside from offering voice and video calling, people may also use Skype to call landline and mobile phone numbers, and for the first two months after the user links their account with Amazon Alexa, Skype is offering 100 minutes of free calls to phone numbers in 34 different countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, and the United Kingdom.
Right now, this feature is rolling out to seven countries across the globe, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, India, Australia, and New Zealand, although Skype has promised that it will deploy the functionality to other countries in the near future. Furthermore, users must own a compatible Alexa device to take advantage of the feature. Among the supported devices include the first and second-generation versions of the Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, and Amazon Show, as well as the Echo Spot and the second and the third-generation editions of the Amazon Dot.
Background: Microsoft already announced during Amazon's recent hardware event last September that it would bring over Skype to Amazon Alexa devices, although at that time, the tech firm did not provide a specific date for the rollout of the new feature. This service takes advantage of the voice and video calling support that Amazon added to its Alexa devices some time ago. This development also marks the next step for the collaboration between the two tech giants, with Microsoft previously integrating Alexa into its Xbox consoles, and Microsoft previously stated that it will continue working with Amazon to enable more intelligent communications between users.
Impact: The rollout of Skype support to Amazon Alexa devices are mutually beneficial to the two tech giants. Microsoft gains access to users who regularly use their Alexa devices to make calls while they are home, while Amazon will benefit from the additional features that Skype brings over to its products. For consumers, especially for Skype users, this new feature gives them more options on where they could make calls through their preferred service.