Unified communications has been one of the focus areas of Microsoft; right from the announcement of Office Communicator, and then the transition to Lync and their acquisition of Skype. Microsoft today announced, the next version of Lync will become Skype for Business.
In the first half of 2015, Skype for Business will launch with a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365. Microsoft believes that Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organizations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business.
Skype for Business takes advantage of the strengths of both Skype and Lync. For example, as you can see in the screenshot, they have adopting the familiar Skype icons for calling, adding video and ending a call. Also, added the call monitor from Skype, which keeps an active call visible in a small window even when a user moves focus to another application.
At the same time, Skype for Business keeps and improves on all of the capabilities of Lync, including content sharing and telephony. They are also making it easier to connect to people everywhere. Lync already offers instant messaging and audio calling with Skype users. Skype for Business adds video calling and the Skype user directory making it possible to call any Skype user on any device.
Enterprise customers will be able to take advantage of these capabilities simply by updating from Lync Server 2013 to the new Skype for Business Server in their datacenters. No new hardware is required. For Office 365 customers, it’s even simpler. Microsoft will do the required updates.
Source: Microsoft Press