Microsoft has announced that with the latest Skype app update comes the ability to launch Skype from within another app. To do this, an app will call a Skype URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) to perform a certain function in the Skype app. Windows Phone 8 has had this functionality with a range of different built-in apps but now Skype is getting similar functionality.
The Windows Phone 8 operating system enables apps to access functionality outside the app itself — this comes in the form of URIs. A common URI is opening the Email app when an email address is tapped or launching Internet Explorer when a link is selected. This functionality has to be enabled by the app developer to work, but finally app developers have access to a new URI which can launch Skype.
The functionality of this developer change is immediately apparent; a restaurant could make an app and use Skype to make reservations. Skype could also be used as customer support add-on to provide a seamless app experience. It will be interesting to see if big names like Facebook and Twitter integrate the Skype URIs into their apps.
Opening Skype up so that developers can take advantage of its features seems to be in line with Microsoft’s overall strategy. Microsoft has been making more and more of their services accessible to developers. Xbox Music has an API which enables 3rd party apps to use the service as a backend and OneNote integrates with a wide range of 3rd party apps to get more content into the app. This new Microsoft is focused on delivering solutions and opening their services to fit into any condition.