Microsoft Prepares Skype for Business Launch
Farewell, Lync. Microsoft releases a preview of its rebranded enterprise communications platform as it nears release.A preview of Skype for Business, set to replace Lync, is now available for organizations that want to get an early jump on preparing for its release, which is currently scheduled for next month. "I am thrilled to announce that the technical preview of the Skype for Business client starts today, and that the new client, server and online service will become generally available starting in April," announced Giovanni Mezgec, general manager, Skype for Business, in a March 16 blog post. "The tech preview gives current Lync customers a chance to trial Skype for Business and get ready to upgrade." Skype for Business is a product at least two years in the making. In early 2013, Mezgec announced some of the first steps that the Redmond, Wash.-based technology company was taking in integrating Skype, the company's massively popular chat, voice over IP (VOIP) and video calling software, with its more corporate cousin, Lync. "By bringing the assets that we have on the consumer front with Skype and on the enterprise front with Lync, we can have a unified platform that really brings communications from the living room to the boardroom in a way that makes sense and is rationalized and connected rather than having disconnected islands," he told eWEEK during a February 2013 interview.
As part of Skype's transformation into a major enterprise app, Microsoft began chipping away at the technical barriers between Skype and Lync. In December, after the company announced Lync's days were numbered, the company finally enabled video calling between both platforms, eliminating one of the last remaining barriers between Skype-Lync communications.