Today’s topics include the launch of Skype for Business, reports that Nokia Solutions and Networks wants to buy out Alcatel Lucent, Lumia smartphone users testing Project Spartan and a Bing smartphone homepage revamp from Microsoft.
Skype for Business has officially launched on schedule and nearly a month after Microsoft released the technical preview to Lync’s successor. In an April 14 announcement, Microsoft’s Skype for Business Team revealed that the new Skype for Business client is now rolling out as part of the April monthly update for Office 2013.
The software sports a revised user interface that blends Skype’s signature look with Lync’s advanced, business-oriented calling, messaging and video conferencing capabilities.
Nokia Solutions and Networks is deep in negotiations to buy Alcatel-Lucent in a move that would create a significant networking player that could push back at the growth by Ericsson and Huawei Technologies in Europe and Cisco Systems’ dominance in the United States, as well as make inroads into the important China market.
The announcement is the latest step in a potential deal that has been discussed since at least late 2013 after Nokia bought out Siemens’ half of the companies’ joint networking venture and had agreed to sell its struggling handset business to Microsoft.
Project Spartan, considered a replacement for Microsoft’s long-lived Internet Explorer browser, has been available to early testers of the upcoming Windows 10 operating system since March 30.
Now, Lumia smartphone users can see how the experience holds up in a mobile context. While the software giant appears to be distancing itself from IE and the ire that it has drawn from many in the Web development community, the browser will nonetheless live on for the sake of legacy business applications.
Microsoft has revamped the Bing homepage for iOS and Android smartphones to align the mobile search experience with the expectations of users visiting Bing.com with their iPhones and Android handsets.
The Bing home page design has been tweaked with a minimalist interface adorned by Bing’s trademark feature, the full-screen Image of the Day backdrop, which usually depicts exotic locales, landmarks and wildlife.