But lets dig a bit deeper into this. The non native integration demonstrates that Microsoft and Skype don't want to be shut off out of the Google-Chrome ecosystem world. Tofel, who is using only a ChromeBook previously could not be reached via Skype, nor can I when I'm using mine. The plug-in strategy to me is a concession of sorts by Microsoft trying to not appear to be concerned about Google's Chrome OS. But they should be.
In talking with integration experts at one of Google's largest Google Apps migration partners, they are seeing thousands of seats per day migrating away from Exchange, as well as Lotus Notes, over to Google Apps. This migration has to do with costs and features. But while the first interpretation would be that the savings is only on less need for Office and Exchange licenses, the reality is that hardware costs using Chrome books are much lower overall than buying a Windows based PC, or even a Mac.
By adding Skype to the mix, but not going WebRTC, Microsoft is trying to hold on to the user base of Skype users anyway they can, and not have them swap out to GTalk or Google Hangouts.
In my company, we're switching too. After resisting the move to Google Apps for a few years, more because our Exchange hosting company Lanlogic are so awesome, I finally took the advice of Vidtel's Scott Wharton and a few others and started the process. And as part of that switch we'll be using Google Talk more, and likely it will take away from the use of Skype for IM and calling. With integration with GoogleVoice and UberConference so easy in the Chrome browsers on any device I'm basically feeling less and less yearning to be so Skype loyal. Maybe if and when they embrace WebRTC, but so much of what is being done is designed to perpetuate Microsoft and their installed base. Instead what I'm feeling in my gut is a departure from them, and the rise of the next OS.
-- Andy Abramson