Last year, Microsoft announced that it is launching Skype for Business, replacing its Lync communications suite from 2015. “In the first half of 2015, the next version of Lync will become Skype for Business with a new client experience, new server release and updates to the service in Office 365.”
The new client will feature familiar Skype elements, like the buttons for starting or ending a call, or adding video to an active call. While we have not heard much on that front this year, there are now new images that show the platform inching closer to release.
Microsoft had promised that it won’t mess around with Lync’s feature set, assuring users that “Skype for Business keeps and improves on all of the capabilities of Lync, including content sharing and telephony”. In addition to video calling, Skype for Business will also bring support for the Skype user directory, making it easier to find contacts outside of your organization.
In the new version, the intent was to create the look of chat client similar to Skype as shown in snaps. The move to bring Lync under the Skype for Business brand echoes Microsoft’s broader strategy of recognizing that devices and services work best when they are designed to accommodate the needs of both work and play. Late last year, the company announced a ‘Work & Play Bundle’, featuring a year of Skype with Unlimited World + Wi-Fi access, Xbox Live Gold membership, Office 365 Home and an Xbox Music Pass.
It is claimed that most of the changes are cosmetic with intent to remove the Lync branding, make it look like Skype, and move on with life. When the new version will be available to everyone is not yet clear. Stay tuned to know more.