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Microsoft lobs out first Skype for Windows Phone

Now does straight-up video calls

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Microsoft has delivered the first version of Skype for Windows Phone.

Available through the Windows Phone Marketplace, the free app eats up 6MB of space and works on devices from version 7.5 and higher.

Since releasing the beta in February, Microsoft has added the ability to make video calls in portrait mode along with friend management capabilities that include the ability to send and accept invitations, and block and unblock contacts. It's also available in 18 languages.

Microsoft said Skype has been tested and certified to work on seven handsets – three Nokia Lumias, two from HTC and two from Samsung.

The app comes a year after Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5bn, Redmond's most expensive acquisition. Skype is now a separate division inside Microsoft.

At the time of the deal, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer promised that while Skype would be developed for Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox Kinect, Outlook, Hotmail, and Lync, it would also continue to support non-Microsoft platforms.

What Microsoft didn't say at the time is that Skype would be integrated with Internet Explorer, too.

Just last week, the company put up an ad for the position of software engineer to test its work of putting Skype in the browser.

You might wonder why Microsoft would want this, given one trend in web development has been to break out of the browser – especially when Skype functions using its own, non-browser-based web app.

It's important to remember, however, that an important part of Microsoft's development model is to integrate its software and services in the name of "improving or simplifying the user experience" – and thereby give it something to sell to customers. ®

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