Microsoft announced today that Skype for Business—the new version of Lync—is now generally available (GA). Office 2013 users will get the new client in the April update, while Office 365 customers can expect Skype for Business to rollout by the end of May.
“Delivering technology that helps people connect—to discuss, share and collaborate—is core to Microsoft’s mission to reinvent productivity, and Skype for Business is central to our efforts,” a Microsoft representative told me.
Skype for Business combines the familiar Skype user experience—in use by over 300 million people every month—with the proven and capable Lync functionality that businesses rely on. It is integrated with Office on PCs, mobile devices and in the cloud, and provides presence, IM, voice and video calls, and online meetings capabilities. And now it integrates with Skype for consumers too, letting you search for and connect with anyone using Skype.
The GA release of Skype for Business follows a public technical preview by about one month. At the time, Microsoft said that the final release would happen in April.
A couple of points about this transition.
Office 2013 users will get the Skype for Business client—replacing Lync 2013—in the April monthly update for Office 2013. Since it’s the second Tuesday of the month, I assume that happens today.
Office 365 business customers is now rolling out and all customers will be updated to Skype for Business Online in the cloud by the end of May.
Need more time to prepare? Administrators can configure Office 365 such that users can “switch between Skype for Business and the traditional Lync user interface.” You can learn more about this capability here.
Mac and Mobile clients. No word on a new Mac client yet, but the new Skype for Business mobile apps will be available on iOS and Android “in the coming months,” I was told. In the meantime, customers can continue to use the Lync mobile clients with Skype for Business.
Learn more. Check out Microsoft’s Skype for Business site to learn more about this topic.
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