Microsoft announces Skype for Windows 8

Skype, a video-chat service owned by Microsoft, will be deeply integrated into Windows 8, says Microsoft. 

Tony Avelar/Invision for Skype/AP
Tony Bates, president of the Skype division of Microsoft, shares a light moment as he waits to connect via Skype with Jeremy Gilley, founder of Peace One Day during the Peace Day Concert at Wembley Arena in London in September.

Microsoft's Windows Store might have more than a few big-name apps missing when it officially launches alongside Windows 8 on October 26th, but Skype won't be one of them. Today, the Microsoft-owned video chatting service pulled back the curtain on Skype for Windows 8, a version that sinks deep hooks in the soon-to-be-released operating system and works just as well on Windows RT tablets.

Skype for Windows 8 sports a Modern-style makeover, as one would expect, complete with a Live Tile that displays missed calls and new instant messages. Microsoft also added Skype to the People app, so the Skype number for your friends will appear alongside their email addresses, normal phone numbers and social media information.

The Modern version of Skype allows you to merge your Skype account with your Windows Account, which signs you into the messaging service whenever you log on to a Windows 8 PC or tablet. Skype for Windows 8 runs in the background without draining your battery, and if someone calls or messages you while you're in another app, you'll receive a Windows 8 notification saying as much.

Like every Modern-style app, Skype for Windows 8 supports the operating system's new Snap feature, allowing you to dock Skype at the edge of the screen while continuing to work with another app in the main portion. That way, you can continue working or surfing the Web while chatting with your Grandma on Skype.

With Windows 8's launch date barreling down, expect to hear more big-name Windows 8 app announcements as the week goes on. We'll be sure to let you know when the biggest new apps become available. Hopefully, Microsoft is able to fill a few more holes in its app lineup before the big day.

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