Microsoft Lync becomes Skype for Business

Microsoft rebrands Lync before updating unified communications and collaboration suite

The Microsoft Lync brand is to disappear from the marketplace next year, with the next version of Redmond’s business communications and collaboration suite to be named Skype for Business.

Microsoft’s corporate vice-president of Office Lync and Speech Group, Gurdeep Pall, revealed the changes in a blog post on Skype’s website.

Pall said Microsoft wanted to bring together the “familiar experience” and “user love” of Skype with Lync’s security, compliance and control feature set.

“A decade ago, Skype broke down the distance barrier by bringing people together from all over the world. It forever changed the way people shared their lives by getting friends and family together,” wrote Pall.

“For the past 10 years, Microsoft has invested in the transformation of business, disrupting the status quo with Lync, by simplifying and unifying all of the different tools people used to communicate for work.”

The changes will take effect in the first half of 2015, said Pall. Lync’s next update will include a new client interface, server release and updates to the service in Office 365.

More on Lync

“We believe Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organisations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business,” he said.

Skype for Business will include features from both products, Microsoft claimed, including Skype icons for calling, adding video and ending a call; the addition of the Skype call monitor, which keeps an active call visible to the user even when he or she moved to another application; and access to the Skype user directory, meaning users will be able to call any Skype user on any device.

Meanwhile, it will also expand on the current capabilities contained within Lync, including content sharing and telephony, and one-click call transferring.

Lync Server 2013 customers will receive the new Skype for Business Server as a software upgrade, while Office 365 customers will have the updates managed for them by Microsoft.

Read more on Unified communications