Microsoft has quietly released an OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) to allow system builders to easily "silently install" Skype on new PCs. The kit includes an installer application and instructions for OEMs to install version 5.8 of the Windows Skype client on a large number of PCs. Although system builders could previously opt to include Skype themselves, Microsoft is making this process easier with full support.
The latest Skype client (version 5.9) isn't supported just yet by the OPK, but the release signals an effort by Microsoft to ensure OEMs opt to install its voice and video calling service. Microsoft completed its acquisition of Skype in October 2011, but has not yet fulfilled its promise to integrate the technology into its core products. Although there's hints at Skype's future integration into the Xbox, Windows Phone 8, and Windows 8 — Microsoft has only managed to deliver a Windows Phone Skype app so far. An OPK is a fairly minor start to its Windows integration, but it's a key way that Microsoft can ensure new PC users opt to use Skype over some other competitor products.