A while back, I speculated on how the Lync/Skype integration process would work. A few times.
- Killing off Skype in Favor of Lync: What Would the Users Say? (June 4, 2014)
- Exchanging Protocols: The Latest on Lync and Skype Integration (February 26, 2014)
- Skype Integration: Questions Raised About the Future (October 27, 2011)
It seems we have an answer. And it wasn’t the one I picked.
Lync Gets a New Name and Skype Features in 2015
Next year, Lync will become Skype for Business. A full rebranding–kind of like when OCS became Lync Server. Like before, the next version of Lync/Skype for Business will have some cosmetic changes and new features:
- Skype contacts available in the Lync client
- Skype’s “call monitor” window
- More Skype-like video calling
- Access to the Skype directory
- Video integration between Skype and Lync clients
However, at least according to what we know now, the main Lync functions will remain.
You’ll still have IM and Presence. Enterprise Voice and Conferencing capabilities. Persistent Chat.
I’ve seen “No new hardware” a few times too. “You will be able to upgrade from Lync Server 2013 to Skype for Business Server. No new hardware is required.”
While I’d love if this were the case, I admit to feeling a little dubious. We’re talking about a major shift in the product’s features and interoperability; even if we can use the exact same hardware, I suspect some reconfiguring is required. Time will tell what kind.
The next release of Lync Server/Skype for Business will arrive in the first half of 2015. The rebranding/update affects both on-premises Lync Server and the Lync Online service (which will become Skype for Business Online, pushed out to users next year too).
Impressions: Yea, Nay, and In-Between
I read through some news articles, their comments, and Twitter. Naturally, such a move by Microsoft garners attention. The opinions range far and wide.
A few people view this as Microsoft abandoning the credit Lync’s built up among enterprise businesses. Others are wishing Lync a speedy goodbye and embracing Skype “on the job”. Still others are irritated by the fact that they just got everyone onto Lync, and now they’ll have to change again (can’t blame them there!).
One point brought up more than once is powerful, and may even indicate why Microsoft did this. Commenters pointed to Skype’s massive worldwide customer base and well-known brand. By changing to “Skype for Business”, Microsoft can capitalize on both the customer base’s familiarity, and extend Lync’s unique capabilities into the everyday Skype-user mindset.
However, this has a built-in problem as well. Skype is known the world over, yes…but as a consumer app. Microsoft wants to employ its name in a business context. That may work fine for smaller businesses, but the enterprise? They may have more of an issue.
What Will Become of The Lync Insider?
Now we’re left with the big question. With Microsoft rebranding Lync, getting rid of the Lync name essentiallyâ€¦what will become of this blog?
Will we continue to be “The Lync Insider”? How about changing to “The Skype Insider”, or “Inside Unified Communications”?
Truthfully, right now I just don’t know. We at PlanetMagpie have worked with Lync since before it was called Lync, and we’ll continue to do so when it’s called Skype for Business. Though I always liked the name “Lync.” Easy to say, easy for people to understand.
We’ll brainstorm on the naming & direction of this blog over the next couple months. And I’ll also ask you!
What do you think this blog should call itself? Post your answer here.
Do you have any topics you’d like to see us cover in 2015? Please comment or email them in. Sounds like 2015 will be a big year for unified communicationsâ€¦we’ll have lots to talk about!