Linking Skype and Microsoft Accounts

With the release of Skype for Windows 5.11 beta and Skype for Mac 5.11 beta, we first encountered the ability to log into Skype via a “linked” Microsoft account. Since then Skype has introduced other offerings that make it clear why this merging is becoming necessary, especially with the launch of Skype for Windows 8. But it has also caused some concern; this post aims to assist with questions that arise.

Where is this linkage supported?

Skype for Windows 6.0 and Skype for Mac 6.0 became the “release” version of the two 5.11 betas. Both support logging in via a Microsoft account; only logging in via a Microsoft account provides chat access to Windows Messenger contacts via the respective Skype client.


User accounts in Windows 8 are, by default, linked to your Microsoft account. A user logs into Windows 8 via their Microsoft account ID rather than a “PC-specific” user account as established in previous versions of Windows. Installing Skype for Windows 8 (from the Windows Store) and then launching it from the Start screen does not require a further login. It simply opens in your Skype account linked to your Microsoft account. There are other advantages to this approach, whether using Windows 8 on a PC or Windows 8 RT on a Surface tablet.

  • On opening the user account in Windows 8, it established links to your email account, the People application, photos associated with your Microsoft account, including Facebook and Flickr (if linked to your MS account), your xBox account and your SkyDrive account, amongst others.
  • It certainly minimizes the time required to set up these applications on a new PC or Surface.
  • Once established, it also synchronizes these accounts across hardware platforms, whether accessed on another Windows 8 PC or tablet (or Windows Phone 8), a Windows 7 PC or any other device, such as an Android or iPad tablet, that supports these services or applications individually.
  • It also provides access to Windows Messenger via either the Windows People application or Skype. Only the People application provides access to Facebook contacts (other than via Facebook in Internet Explorer); Skype for Windows 8 does not have access to Facebook contacts.

However, there are a couple of caveats:

  • Only one Skype account can be merged with a Microsoft account. While one can create an additional Microsoft account to merge with another Skype account, the logistics involved become too complex for normal day-to-day use of Windows 8. It is preferable to access additional accounts using Skype for Windows Classic on the Windows 8 Desktop.
  • Skype for Windows Classic on the Windows 8 desktop is also required for screen sharing, file sharing and group video calls. Skype for Windows 8 is a work-in-progress and may, at Skype’s discretion, incorporate these features into future versions.

Skype has put up a more detailed FAQ page outlining “What happens when I merge my Skype and Microsoft accounts?”. It includes instructions for the most tweeted question: “Can I unmerge my Skype and Microsoft accounts?” Hint: contact Skype Customer Support.

Bottom line: As stated in a previous post, effectively Skype for Windows 8 provides real time communications while working with other applications in Windows 8. And the merger of Skype and Microsoft accounts will form the basis for accessing future related offerings.

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