More than three years after acquiring Skype, Microsoft today said it would rebrand its semi-rival Lync corporate communications platform as “Skype for Business.” The name change will become official in the first half of 2015, when Microsoft releases the next versions of Lync’s clients and on-premises server software as Skype for Business. The Lync service that’s part of some Office 365 commercial subscription plans, such as Business Premium and Enterprise E3, will also be updated and renamed at that time.
Microsoft today announced it will be replacing its enterprise-focused instant messaging app Lync with a new Skype for Business tool. The company is promising Skype for Business will remain an Office 365 service when it replaces Lync sometime “in the first half of 2015.” Microsoft Lync, formerly known as Microsoft Office Communicator, uses Microsoft Lync Server, the software infrastructure for enterprise instant messaging, presence, VoIP, conferencing, and so on. Microsoft says Skype for Business will arrive with a new client experience as well as a new server release (Lync Server 2013 will be upgradeable to the new Skype for Business Server right in your datacenter, while Microsoft will take care of the required updates for Office 365 customers). As you can see above, Microsoft is adopting the Skype icons for calling, adding video, and ending a call. Even Skype’s call monitor, a small active call window visible even when a user moves focus to another application, is included.