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New Year, New Lync: Skype for Business

29 Dec 2014 by Shay Moser

It’s the time of year most of us commit to a New Year’s resolution—from starting an exercise routine and eating healthier to quitting a bad habit. But people are not the only ones who are making a fresh start. Microsoft Skype and Lync are making a change for the better, too. They’re joining together as Skype for Business sometime in this first half of 2015. The next version of Lync will become Skype for Business with a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365.

It’s easy to see now why exactly the software giant bought Skype in 2011. Skype for Business takes advantage of the strengths of both Skype and Lync. While Skype’s strengths have included uniting people worldwide through video on computers, phones, and tablets; Lync is known for joining and improving work communication tools, such as voice, video, and conferencing.

Skype for Business will combine the well-known elements of Skype with the enterprise security, compliance, and control of Lync. Plus, organizations will be able to reach hundreds of millions of Skype users around the world. For example, it includes the familiar Skype icons for calling, adding video, and ending a call. It also incorporates the call monitor from Skype, which shows your active call in a small window even when you take your focus to another platform.

In addition, Skype for Business maintains and improves on all of the capabilities of Lync, including content sharing and telephony. For instance, you can transfer a call in one click versus three. And it enhances instant messaging and audio calling, allowing you to call any Skype user on any device with video calling and access to the Skype user directory.

“Microsoft is bringing together the best of Skype and Lync without losing any of the features, security, or manageability,” said Joel Fricker, Microsoft partner technology strategist. “You will see further adoption of unified communications in your business, and the cost and efficiency benefits that go along with that because of the familiar user experience that hundreds of millions of Skype users engage with every month. Furthermore, this change truly connects you to the vast Skype network. We couldn’t be more excited about Skype for Business—and for what it means for customers and our partners as they continue to harness the opportunities in this mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

If you’re a Lync customer, you can take advantage of these combined features by simply updating from Lync Server 2013 to the new Skype for Business Server in your datacenter. For Office 365 customers, Microsoft performs the update.

The new year is a great time to update your Lync server or upgrade to Office 365, especially with Windows Server 2003 end of support fast approaching. So here is wishing you successful business resolutions in 2015!