Skype’s assimilation into the Microsoft universe continues with the recent addition of Skype to the OneDrive web app. Now you can chat with your friends and co-workers across Microsoft’s entire set of online productivity apps. That includes a wide variety of services, including the web versions of Calendar, Excel, OneNote, Outlook.com, PowerPoint, Sway, and Word.
Microsoft first announced Office Online integration with Skype in October, but the recent addition of OneDrive is particularly helpful. The company’s cloud storage service is the starting point for the Office web apps, meaning you can chat about folder contents and documents and then carry that conversation over to the actual app you need to use.
Microsoft says that in-document Skype chat has the added advantage of staying “connected to the document the next time you open it.” In my experience, however, all that really happens is your most recent chat opens each time you activate Skype. There doesn’t appear to be any “smart” feature that pins a specific chat to a specific document. We’ve asked Microsoft for clarification on this point.
UPDATE: Here’s what a Microsoft representative had to say about chat history in Office Online:
“Your chat history stays connected to the document, so the next time you open it you can pick up where you left off by clicking on the “Chat” button in the top right corner. You also see latest conversations in Skype when you click on the Skype logo at the top right corner of the webpage.”
Beyond the new integration with OneDrive, Skype said Outlook.com integration was now complete and that all users should now be able to use Skype from their email.
Why this matters: Building Skype directly into Office Online and OneDrive is an important feature addition that will make Office a truly end-to-end collaboration tool. That’s especially important for Microsoft when many people wonder whether it’s even worth it to pay for Office when so many free alternatives exist.
Updated at 11:05 a.m. Pacific on March 8, 2016 with comment from Microsoft.