Skype has officially announced, on their blog, that Skype group video calling is now free and available to everyone on a Windows PC, Mac, or Xbox One. As for Skype users on Android, iOS, and other platforms – the company said that it will make group video calling free on more platforms “in the near future”.
“Skype is proud that, since our beginning, we’ve created opportunities for people to communicate freely and easily, no matter where they are; from keeping in touch with remote family members or calling home when traveling to chatting daily with your close circles of friends. While Skype is known for one to one video calling, we know it’s also essential to connect with the groups of people who matter most, whether friends, family or colleague,” said Phillip Snalune, General Manager for Consumer Marketing at Skype, “For the last few years, we’ve offered group video calling to Premium users on Windows desktop and Mac and more recently Xbox One. Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re making group video calling free – for all users on these platforms. And, in the future, we’ll be enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost,” he added.
Skype’s group video calling lets up to 10 people participate and community in video chats on their PCs or Macs. While Google’s Hangouts has allowed users to do group video calls for a long time, Microsoft previously only enabled group video calling on Skype for Premium accounts which cost around $8.99 per month or $4.99 for a single day pass. The change today will let Microsoft better position themselves to go against the competition. Skype has also temporarily removed the Premium service from Skype saying that they’re giving it a “refresh”.
The company also recently announced an upcoming update to its app for Windows Phone 8.1 that will introduce new features such as the ability to convert regular phone calls into Skype video calls (given that the other person also has Skype and you have their account details) as well as the integration of Cortana, Microsoft’s version of Siri, into the Skype app which will enable users to leverage voice commands to start calls and perform other functions around the app.