Microsoft still hiring for Skype Xbox team; when will it be out?

It's been well over a year since Microsoft aquired Skype and since then there's been new Skype clients released for Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Windows RT. But what about Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console? In August, we noted that the company had two job openings to work in London with a team designed to port Skype to Xbox.

Microsoft has stayed silent on its plans for adding Skype support for Xbox, but the company still continues to hire people to work on the team. The latest such job opening was posted on the Microsoft Careers page earlier this month for a Software Development Engineer. The job listing states:

As a member of the Skype Xbox Engineering Team in London, you will have a strong technical background developing client and/or embedded software. Success in this role will likely be driven by your technical understanding, passion for shipping product, a user focus and an Agile approach to software development.

The big question: Will Skype be added to the current Xbox 360 console during a big software update for the Xbox dashboard, or is Microsoft going to way to put in Skype out of the box for the next Xbox console? Hopefully we won't have to wait for much longer to find out.

Source: Microsoft Careers | Image via Microsoft

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Software teams hire for features that are planned for future versions. This likely has nothing to do with the 360 getting Skype versus not.

Ugh, if this is for the next console, Microsoft is blowing it. There's no reason to make developers make a separate app for Skype for the next Xbox and another one for Windows tablets. The same goes for any of the myriad of streaming apps that will presumably be for the next console. Using the WinRT framework would mean it's automatically available for the Xbox AND their tablet ecosystem.

True, but I doubt you want to use the same UI on Xbox. You probably want something a bit more customized for the input devices on that platform.

The underlying APIs that they use should be ready for that, but Skype was not always their product and therefore its internal code may still have some work ahead of it before it can get there due to changing goals. Plus, whether or not the code is ready, it should look different for a phone, tablet/PC, and gaming console. They all have very different usability.

What works great on a tablet also works great on a TV. I can tell you from experience that the Skype app in particular works great with a wireless keyboard/mouse and headset while on the TV (my media PC is also running Windows 8 now). And besides, the whole idea of Windows 8 stuff is that it's supposed to work great no matter which input device you use, so adding Kinect and controller support would make just as much sense as touch, keyboard, and mouse support.

There's no reason the developers should be forced to maintain two entirely different applications. Besides, as I said already, the benefit to users on both the tablet and PC would be huge. Some of the biggest things missing from the Surface are apps like HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, stuff that is already on the Xbox, and will obviously be coming to the next console as well. Telling developers they could write a single app and have it cover not only the console, but also the tablet and PC (and with slight reworking of the UI, even the phone) would be a huge benefit there.