While I finish up the post on Lync as a LogMeIn alternative, let me bring something to your attention. An excellent Skype/Lync piece was posted just last week…and it amounts to a warning shot across Skype’s bow.
Derrick Wlodarz, the same author who wrote the BetaNews piece on PSTN Voice in Lync Online (2 Articles You Need to Read about Lync), has posted a meticulous argument for killing Skype in favor of Lync.
The piece (also on BetaNews) is called “Skype VS. Lync: The case for killing off Skype”. It’s extremely thorough. He references an Ars Technica article making the same argument last year. His points are persuasive. It’s well worth a read.
It’s also missing something.
The BetaNews Article: Case Against Skype & For Lync
Let’s take a look at some of Derrick’s points against Skype. Largely, it consists of the fact that the two platforms overlap, and where they do? Lync comes out ahead.
- Skype Chats are limited to 10 people. Lync’s conferencing goes up to 250 people.
- Skype has lagged behind Lync in development, including number porting and PSTN calling capabilities.
- Lync has e911 support; Skype does not.
- Skype has shut down access to its API, preventing further third-party extension development. (This might be a Microsoft tactic to shrink the Skype developer base in favor of Lync…)
“It’s fair to say that there is little reason that two ecosystems need to exist for the long run.” Agreed.
“…Lync indeed does everything Skype does, and brings a lot more to the table as well.” Also agreed.
There’s nothing here with which I disagree. It’s well-argued and expansive. He even brings up a point I’ve addressed here in the past: The different codecs used in Skype and Lync.
So why DO we still have the two platforms? People have proposed numerous reasons. Comments from the referenced Ars Technica article give users’ opinions as to why Skype and Lync still operate:
Dashiffy: “While it seems to make sense to do that, there are reasons (technical, managerial, economical) for keeping the two products separate; the main argument being that consumer-driven product lines are coded, implemented, and supported in a vastly different manner than enterprise-driven products.”
Dilbert: The two products are worked on by two different groups, and the VPs in charge hate each other.
Zvadim: What bothers me about Lync is the pricing/licensing model. Why does Lync-to-Lync voice & video requires upgrading to “enterprise” CALs? Shouldn’t this functionality be part of the “standard” CAL? How am I supposed to sell this “upgrade” to management, when Skype does all of that for free?
All of these may be accurate. The question is, is any one reason stronger than the others?
Skype Is Still Hanging On By Its Users
I think there’s one big roadblock keeping Skype and Lync separate–at least right now. The author went almost the whole piece without addressing it:
The Skype user base.
This, I believe, is the major reason why Microsoft is taking their integration process slow. They have to work out a technical method of evolving Skype, as well as a strategy for convincing users to accept those changes.
Try to change the technology? Difficult, but doable. Try to change a millions-strong user base? Ohhh, you’re in for a fight.
I discussed the Skype-Lync integration a few months ago. Before that, I listed out 4 possible avenues Microsoft would take when it comes to Skype and Lync:
- Skype replaces Lync.
- Lync absorbs Skype.
- A new Lync-Skype hybrid app replaces both platforms.
- Lync and Skype stay separate, but interoperate.
So far, I’d say #4 is the most prevalent. Derrick is calling for #2. And not without merit, I might add. He makes a strong case for #2…albeit with minimal consideration of user base inertia.
He does put forth the idea of expanding Lync into the consumer space. I like this idea. Building out its capabilities so that it could take Skype’s place? It would mean a viable VoIP system across all major platforms.
Plus it would serve as an improved replacement for Skype. Taking Skype away without a replacement app? Even Microsoft could not weather THAT storm!
What do you think? Is Derrick on the right track? Should Skype come to a more sudden end, in favor of an expanded Lync? Please comment or email your thoughts.