Skype announced Skype for Windows 8 today, bringing together popular Skype features and the new design of Windows 8. The release focuses on delivering an experience that is simpler, faster and easier to use. Skype for Windows 8 includes top Skype features like IM, audio and video calls. The Big Blog has the full story, plus a cool video (see below) that introduces Skype for Windows 8. Skype for Windows 8 will be available on Oct. 26.

Also, lots happening in the Xbox ecosystem these days and today we’re excited to bring NBA Game Time to Xbox LIVE. Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers in the U.S. now have access to their favorite NBA teams and players anytime right from their Xbox. NBA Game Time is available in the U.S. With the addition of NBA Game Time to the existing lineup of sports partners – including ESPN, UFC and MLB – Xbox is taking live sports on TV to a whole new level with personalization features, deeper interactivity, and social connectivity found only on Xbox 360. Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson has the whole story.

Finally, in the latest edition of The View from Washington State, Microsoft Director of Community Affairs Jane Broom talks about closing the growing gap between the skills of the US workforce and those required by employers in an information-driven economy, a gap, she notes, that also exists in Washington State. You can read more about Microsoft’s National Talent Strategy over on Microsoft on the Issues.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog