Microsoft Kicks Off 'Phased' Skype for Business Preview for Mac
A year after replacing Lync with Skype for Business on Windows, Mac users can finally take the updated software for a spin.Last year around this time, Microsoft launched Skype for Business as an update to Lync, the Redmond, Wash., software giant's enterprise communications software platform. Now, users stuck with Lync for Mac 2011 can get an early taste of what the software has in store for the platform when it finally launches later this year. Skype for Business is the culmination of a multiyear effort to integrate Lync and Skype, blending the former's enterprise-grade capabilities with the latter's consumer-like ease of use. In 2014, the company announced that Skype for Business would replace Lync. Now, a year after Windows users have had time to get accustomed to the new experience, Mac users can share in it. Microsoft has released the first phase of its Skype for Business Preview for Mac, announced Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office 365 Client Applications, yesterday. "The Skype for Business Mac Preview will release in three cumulative stages leading to public availability planned for Q3 of 2016. Today's initial release lets you see and join your meetings," he wrote in an April 26 blog post. Business customers can request early access to the Mac client at SkypePreview.com. Phase one of the preview displays Skype meetings for the day and the following day, based upon a user's Outlook calendar. Clicking on a meeting will launch the meeting workspace, along with content viewing, chat and full-screen video functionality.
Helping colleagues keep in touch is the point of the preview's second phase, according to Kaushal Mehta, a Microsoft Skype for Business senior program manager.