With Skype for Windows, you can make free worldwide voice and video calls, chat with friends, and even play games via chatbots.
Free to call other Skype users: You can use Skype for Windows to make free Skype-to-Skype local and international voice or video calls. The Skype app can handle group voice and video conference calls with up to 25 users and lets you do screen sharing.
Chat with contacts: In addition to handling calls, the Windows desktop version of Skype lets you instant message with your contacts. You can send emojis and GIFs, and exchange files.
The Skype calling plan lets you call anyone, almost anywhere: For $6.99 a month, you can call anyone with a landline or mobile number in Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S., and four other regions. With a $2.99-a-month plan, you can call mobile and landline numbers in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S., and for $13.99 a month, call landlines in Canada, China, the U.S., and five other regions, plus mobile lines in Australia, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and dozens of other countries and regions. All plans include unlimited minutes.
You can also buy Skype Credit to load $10 or $25 into your account to use for phone calls.
Or get Skype Minutes with Microsoft Office 365: A Microsoft Office 365 subscription gets you 60 Skype Minutes to use per month. With Skype Minutes, you can use Skype to make calls to mobile phones in a handful of countries and regions, including Canada, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States.
You can also use the minutes to make Skype calls to landline phones in more than 60 countries, including Brazil, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom -- plus all the countries and regions available via mobile phone.
It's probably not worth getting an Office subscription just for the minutes, but if you need Office anyway, it's a nice perk. The $69.99-per-year Office 365 Personal edition includes Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Excel. The $99 annual subscription to the Office 365 Home edition includes the same apps you can share with four other family members. Plus, the Office version of Skype lets you create meeting links, hold conference calls with up to 250 people, and record your meetings. The Office version comes with whiteboarding tools, the ability to mute participants, and transferable presenter controls.
Add contacts: You can import contacts from your address book or add them manually. Skype will also recommend people you may know. You can add chatbots to play games, make travel plans, find movie times, have a conversation with, and more.
No end-to-end encryption yet: Microsoft said Skype for Windows uses AES 256-bit encryption to keep calls private. If you want end-to-end encryption, however, you need to be part of the Skype Insiders program and on iPhone and Android mobile devices. Private chats are just between two people and do not cover a video chat from a phone.
Not like the old Skype: Fans of the original version of Skype are often frustrated by how Microsoft has treated its video calling service. If you aren't crazy about where Microsoft is taking Skype, you can turn back the clock to the older version, which Microsoft now calls Skype Classic.
The video- and voice-calling field has grown crowded since Skype debuted in 2003, but Microsoft has worked hard to keep Skype up to date, and it continues to be a solid way to make worldwide calls, either Skype to Skype or to mobile or landline numbers.
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