In a bid to challenge Google’s Hangouts’ function, Microsoft has announced that group-calling on Skype will now be available for free on its desktop and Xbox One platforms.
Up until now, Skype has restricted access to group calling to premium subscribers only, but in the face of increased competition from one of its biggest rivals, Skype owner Microsoft has made the change.
Microsoft also announced that in the foreseeable future, it will be looking to expand the free to service to all platforms, particularly mobile.
“Whether for my cycling team or your catch-ups, meet ups, huddles, reunions, nights out, study groups, painting clubs, family ‘get-togethers’ or whatever group you participate in, Skype is committed to making group communications simple, easy and fun for everyone – now and in the years to come!,” said the blog post.
In other Microsoft news, the Xbox will soon have its own Netflix-style video channel in June featuring exclusive content like documentaries and even a Halo movie produced by legendary Hollywood director, Ridley Scott.
The first live broadcast on the channel will be from the Bonnaroo music festival where Xbox users will be able to not only stream footage from the festival, but will also include the ability to switch stages, vantage points, and to partake in Skype chats with various artists backstage.