New rebranded service will be available from early next year
Microsoft has announced it is rebranding its Lync unified communication service as Skype for Business.
Skype for Business will be available in the half of 2015 and is completely separate from the existing version of Skype, featuring a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365.
However, it will resemble the present incarnation of Skype, using similar icons, layouts and contact lists, although users will need a separate account as Microsoft looks to offer a unified experience across its enterprise and consumer software portfolios.
As well as the cosmetic changes, Skype for Business will now include video calling, making it easier for companies to engage face to face with their workers or customers.
The news was revealed in a blog post written by Gurdeep Pall, Skype’s corporate vice president, who said that Skype for Business, “will bring together the familiar experience of Skype with the security, compliance, and control that you’ve come to expect from Lync.”
“A decade ago, Skype broke down the distance barrier by bringing people together from all over the world,” wrote Pall. “It forever changed the way people shared their lives by getting friends and family together to celebrate special moments and create extraordinary bonds.”
“Today, Skype is so much more,” he added. “It’s used by more than 300 million people for messaging, calling and sharing. It lets people and groups connect in more spontaneous ways across multiple platforms to have fun and get things done. From desktop, to mobile to TV, it’s for communicating throughout the day, every day. Skype is a universal symbol of togetherness.”
Microsoft originally acquired Skype for $8.5 billion (£5.1 billion) in 2011 as it looked to gain a hold of the lucrative instant messaging market. Since then, Microsoft has been working non-stop on integrating the pioneering voice-over-IP (VoIP) and video communications tech into practically every part of the company’s sweeping technology portfolio, with Skype ultimately replaced the existing MSN Messenger service in April 2013.
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