On Monday, Microsoft announced a Technical Preview for the Skype for Business client! Yay!

This means 2 things: One, we have 1 month to go until Skype for Business Server is here. Two, I can test out the Skype for Business interface.
The client is installing now. I’ll do a proper review next time, after I’ve had a few days to really explore its ins and outs. For now, let me give you a few first impressions:

  • Look & feel doesn’t appear much different. This might be intentional – I don’t use Skype too often, but Skype for Business is easy to recognize anyway. Microsoft WAS smart in that their UI functionality appears to emphasize clicks more than touch. I do have a touchscreen laptop, but I still prefer my mouse.
  • I don’t like the ‘bubbles’ in IMs. I know it’s a Skype feature and millions of people will recognize it…I just don’t like how they look.
  • File transfer IS a bit faster, at least from my perspective.
  • Options menus don’t appear to have many changes (if any). Good for Lync users; they’ll have some extra familiarity.

Skype for Business IM Window

If you want to try the Skype for Business Client Technical Preview, here are some links to help:
Evaluate Skype for Business Client – TechNet Evaluation Center
Skype for Business client on Lync Server resources: Awareness and readiness planning- Office Support

Check back next week for a more thorough review.

Office 365 Skype for Business Users Will Get Enterprise Voice

VentureBeat also has a post with timely #Skype4B details: Skype for Business will offer phone numbers to Office 365 users, available in preview this summer – VentureBeat

From the article:

“Skype for Business will offer Enterprise Voice in Office 365 with PSTN calling and conferencing. The functionality will first become available as a technical preview in the U.S. this summer.”

Honestly, I’m of two minds about this. Of course, adding PSTN calling to an Office 365 service is extremely helpful for Office 365 users. That part is great!

I commented in the past about Lync Online being “near-crippled” without PSTN calling. It appears Microsoft does intend to fulfill its PSTN promise…by introducing it in the next version.

This is where I become a little paranoid. It makes me think that Skype for Business 2015 may be the last version available for on-premise installs.

Will Skype for Business & SharePoint Move to Cloud-Only Soon?

Where does that come from? I’ll explain. See, Office 365 getting PSTN calling is one part of my concern. The other is the rumor I’ve heard that SharePoint is going cloud-only.

We do know that the next version of Visual Studio is moving to the cloud. Some developers are frustrated by this decision. I can’t blame them. I don’t work with Visual Studio myself, but I know people who do. Not having a local environment to work & test within means fundamental changes to their work style.

Will SharePoint take the same road? I’ve seen chatter indicating as such, though Googling doesn’t give me a specific yes/no announcement. Yet.

SharePoint Online does already exist. Just like Lync Online. Which will soon become Skype for Business Online, with pretty much every feature its on-premise sibling has by the end of the year…

See why I’m concerned?

We’ll have to wait and see. If you’ve heard information for or against this idea, please share it with us.

In the meantime, excuse me…I have a new Skype for Business Preview to play with.

Are you trying out the Skype for Business Technical Preview? What are your impressions so far? Please comment or email! I’d love to hear others’ experiences.

Skype for Business 2015 Client Technical Preview Released: Why I’m Celebrating AND Concerned
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6 thoughts on “Skype for Business 2015 Client Technical Preview Released: Why I’m Celebrating AND Concerned

  • March 18, 2015 at 12:53 pm
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    Anyone else unable to install the preview? I’ve got Lync 2013 on my machine, but when I run either exe, I get a message telling me that there arent any products affected by the package. Kinda like when you try and install a SP when you dont have the actual app installed (not that anyone’s ever done that…. 🙂

    Reply
    • March 18, 2015 at 12:56 pm
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      Josef,

      Nope, never ever done that!

      I did have a problem downloading the preview at first, but that was because I tried to access the page in Firefox. TechNet didn’t like that. Switched to IE and everything worked smoothly. Not sure if this will help you, but just in case.

      Reply
  • March 19, 2015 at 8:05 am
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    I updated my Lync 2013 32-bit client. All was well until I restarted my machine and the GUI changed back to Lync 2013??? However the taskbar displays the new Skype logo.

    Reply
  • March 19, 2015 at 1:17 pm
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    Fixed by changing registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Lync\EnableSkypeUI

    Reply
  • March 26, 2015 at 7:43 am
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    Does anyone know when Lync to Skype mobile client will be launched?

    Reply

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