Skype for Business on Mac Nears Completion
The wait's almost over. Skype for Business on the Mac (formerly Skype) is starting to close the features gap with the its Windows counterpart.Microsoft has added new features to its Skype for Business Mac Preview this week, bringing it a couple of big steps closer to parity with the Windows-based version of the enterprise communications software. In April, a year after replacing Lync with Skype for Business on Windows, the software maker kicked off a phased preview of the software for Mac PCs (OS X El Capitan and above) with limited functionality. Early testers could view scheduled Skype meetings in Outlook and join them by clicking the pertinent calendar item. Given the narrow scope of the first phase's capabilities, Microsoft recommended that users keep running Lync for Mac 2011 for continued access to the platform's voice and messaging features. Now, ahead of its anticipated official release later this year, Microsoft is further pulling back the curtain on what the full experience has to offer. Two key components, contacts and presence, now work in the preview, Paul Cannon, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft Skype for Business, said in a July 5 blog post. "See whether a contact is offline or online, whether they're busy, in a meeting or available, and easily start an IM conversation," he wrote.
Group video calling with up to four participants has been enabled, along with peer-to-peer calls with other Skype for Business contacts using voice over IP (VOIP). Finally, conversation histories are now available, allowing users to view a list of past conversations and restart them at their leisure.