Skype for Business replaces Lync
Microsoft announced this morning that Skype for Business will replace Lync in their next release in the first half of 2015 which will include a new client, server release, and Office 365 Service. My initial reaction was excitement about a new client with new features but disappointment with the re-branding. As a daily Lync user when I think of Skype I think of two things: consumer grade, and video chat (even though Skype is much more than video chat that’s what I associate it with.) Initially I was afraid that this rebranding of Lync as Skype for Business would in a sense dumb down the Lync brand by associating it with a consumer grade product. Then I realized that when my team and I are explaining Lync to someone who has no idea what it is, our first point of reference is Skype.
Everyone knows the Skype name and when you are explaining what Lync is you end saying something along the lines of, “its like Skype on steroids” or “Its Skype but for businesses”. This rebranding is actually quite exciting because it will allow all the greatness of Lync to reach a much larger audience with a much more recognizable name. The most important thing Microsoft and partners need to get across with this rebranding that Skype for Business with Enterprise voice can replace your office phone system and conferencing tools entirely, this is not a supplemental tool to your existing phone system.
Better Integration in Skype for Business
In my previous blog I touched on how Microsoft had announced full integration between Skype and Lync, this integration will occur in Skype for Business. Inside the client you will be able to search the entire Skype directory and use full video conferencing and screen sharing capabilities with people outside of your organization. This game changer because many more people are likely to have the Skype app on one of their devices than conferencing tools like Lync, Webex, or GoToMeeting.
Below is a preview of what the new Skype for Business client will look like and it shows searching the Skype directory from inside the client.
Skype for Business will also feature more functionality than Lync 2013 and make simple tasks like transferring even easier. Consult and Transfer has been added to the new client and new menu structure will make the client easier to use than it already is.
Microsoft’s rebranding of Lync will hopefully bring UC to a much larger audience and let business collaborate easily with the hundreds of millions of Skype users.