Nearly three years after acquiring popular video calling service Skype, Microsoft has announced that it’s re-branding it’s Lync enterprise communications tool as Skype for Business.
The name change will be effective in the first half of 2015 when new versions of the Skype for Business client, Skype for Business on-premises server, and Skype for Business online service (part of Office 365) will be made available.
Microsoft’s Lync is a popular tool, and is widely used in many enterprises for voice, video, and conferencing. While the rebranding will have no effect on Lync’s existing features, Skype for Business will include some of Skype’s user interface elements, including icons for calling, adding video, and ending a call, as well as the ability to keep an active call visible in a small window even when a user moves focus to another application.
Aside from instant messaging and audio calling with Skype users, Skype for Business will also support video calling as well as the ability to access the Skype user directory, making it possible to call any Skype user on any device.
Current Lync Server customers will be able to take advantage of these capabilities simply by updating from Lync Server 2013 to the new Skype for Business Server in their datacenters — no new hardware is required, while for Office 365 customers, the software giant says it will do the required updates.
“We believe that Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organizations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business”, said Gurdeep Pall, Corporate Vice President at Skype.