Deepening its partnership with Amazon, Microsoft has announced Skype calling for Alexa devices. The latest move will ultimately let users on Amazon Echo speakers to communicate not just with Alexa but also directly with their friends and family using their voice. There will be an ability to make and receive Skype calls or even make paid SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers around the globe. In the coming future, the Skype team at Microsoft will bring an experience under which users will be able to connect with their contacts using an Xbox One or a mobile device – all using Alexa. The new announcement comes just after Amazon announced the upgraded range of its Echo devices as well as the Alexa-powered AmazonBasics Microwave, Echo Wall Clock, and Amazon Smart Plug.
“Users can make outgoing Skype voice and video calls, accept incoming Skype calls, and even make SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers around the world,” wrote Gaurav Sareen, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft in a blog post.
The Skype team didn’t reveal any concrete schedule around the calling support on Alexa, though it has said that the new experience “will begin rolling out later this year.” The advancement is expected to give another reason to customers to pick an Amazon Echo device against the competition that largely has Google Home models and Apple HomePod.
Back in August last year, Amazon and Microsoft announced their partnership that is aimed to closely integrate Alexa and Cortana to take on Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant. The early signs of the tie-up were shown through the arrival of Alexa on Windows 10 PCs. The anticipated Alexa-Cortana integration also reached public preview in August. Earlier this month, the Redmond company also brought Alexa support to the Xbox One, though the rollout is initially limited to Xbox Insiders.