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Microsoft Lync To Become Skype For Business

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Microsoft Lync is going to be replaced next year with a new version of the communications and collaboration suite Skype.

The new solution will be named Skype for Business. The Lync brand, meanwhile, will disappear from the marketplace and the Lync server will become the Skype for Business Server.

Microsoft’s corporate vice-president of Office Lync and Speech Group, Gurdeep Pall, revealed the news in a blog post on Skype’s website.

Lync was tech giant Microsoft’s unified communications product – it offers voice, video, instant messaging and videoconferences, all delivered from a single client. Microsoft says that Lync will now have Skype’s interface, and although none of the features will be lost in the changeover, some of Skype’s features will be added.

Pall explained the reasoning behind the move: “A decade ago, Skype broke down the distance barrier by bringing people together from all over the world. It forever changed the way people shared their lives by getting friends and family together.

“For the past 10 years, Microsoft has invested in the transformation of business, disrupting the status quo with Lync, by simplifying and unifying all of the different tools people used to communicate for work.”

As video becomes an increasingly common means of communication in the business world, Microsoft is clearly looking to establish a stronger foothold in the market. Video conferencing, interview via video and delivering presentations to audiences around the world are all standard uses of video communication technology in modern businesses and this is only going to become more prevalent in the future.

The news also demonstrates the influence that consumer tools and applications are having on the business world. As people become used to using advanced technology in their private lives, they are increasingly expecting the same quality and ease-of-use in the professional environment.

With Skype being the bigger, more-used brand of the two, the changeover should be relatively painless for users. The new product will be intuitive and take advantage of the features that businesses and individuals have become accustomed to when using Skype.

Microsoft announced that Skype for Business will include features from both products including Skype icons for calling, adding video and ending a call.

Furthermore, the new combined services will feature the Skype call monitor, which keeps an active call visible to the user even when he or she moves to another application. Skype for Business will also come with access to the Skype user directory, meaning users will be able to call any Skype user on any device.

The new changes will come into effect in the first half of 2015, Microsoft has confirmed. The blog post also stated that updates will include a new client interface, server release and updates to the service in Office 365.

Pall added: “We believe Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organisations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business.”

Lync Server 2013 customers will receive the new Skype for Business Server as a software upgrade, while Office 365 customers will have the updates managed for them by Microsoft.

 
 
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