Isn’t It Time For Lync To Make Way For Skype?

We wondered what Microsoft would do with Lync and Skype back in 2011 when Microsoft made the surprise acquisition of the Luxembourg company. There was a clear divide. Lync was a bulky on-premises corporate tool with phone system aspirations. Skype was a cloud-based consumer product that offered phone services in addition to voice, video and IM.

Skype went on to kill of Live (MSN) Messenger for IM – and unfortunately Skype’s chat has since not improved itself to keep up with what Messenger was as an IM tool. And Skype has other awful behaviours, particularly if you own multiple devices – such as showing you online when you are not, ringing on one device even though you have answered on another, and so on.

Lync went online (phone system availability is limited by country/partner) as a part of Office 365. And other than that, it’s not really improved much.

We did get an integration, somewhat between the 2 disparate MSFT communications tools; a Skype user can chat with a Lync user.

But in this era when Microsoft says that we are using 1 account and 1 (or many) device to span both work and play, do we really want two chat tools with two very different experiences?

In my opinion, Skype offers a superior experience to Lync. I’ve always found the Lync client and experience to be a bit ropey. How many of us have been in Lync events and spent an age waiting for PowerPoint decks to appear, demos to load, or been asked by moderators to flash status if we can/cannot hear. How many of us have had to restart because Lync audio isn’t working? I never get that with Skype.

And look at where the development investment is going. Skype Translate is a genuinely valuable business feature, enabling people who speak different languages to communicate, albeit with some minor hiccups in the sneak previews.

image Skype Translate in action at WPC 2014

I would be fine with the Lync client going away in favour of Skype. I would do the following:

  • Enable Skype clients to be joined (via policy or sign-up) to a Lync service for control – business still needs control
  • Fix the ringing/status issues of Skype
  • Drop the Lync client as it exists
  • Enable 2 profiles in Skype – work and personal, so a user can opt out of work communications outside of hours
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Book: Mastering Lync Server 2013

I didn’t realise it was out yet, but Mastering Microsoft Lync Server 2013 by Keith Hanna and Nathan Winters (a friend and Exchange/Lync expert) is out.

You can get this nearly 900 pages book at:

.. as well as all good book stores and a few rubbish ones too.

In fact, I got two copies of the book directly from Sybex today.  I hear that Nathan still hasn’t gotten his – poor timing with the house move, dude Smile with tongue out


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Partner Webcast – Introducing Lync Server 2013 & Lync Online

These are notes from an online webcast by the Microsoft Partner Network.  I’m am far from a Lync guy so please bear with me Smile  The recording should be on MPN within 48 hours.

Note that the preview bits are out for evaluation/testing.  GA will probably be quite different.

Every Day Apps We Use

  • Lots of Office pieces
  • Lync tries to unify these for communications.  Single client for easy use and single server for easy administration.

What’s New?


Note the federation between Lync 2013 (online and on-premises) and Skype.  No news on 2010 federation yet.

On the DR side, they are “improving” metro-site resiliency (between data centres).  Check the docs – calling it Easy Site Recovery.  Less requirements than 2010 and more functionality offered.

VDI support: There will be some 3rd party support statements.  MSFT has worked on VDI scenarios to provide high quality experience with a small plugin on the client.  It should be much improved over 2012, e.g. not using an IP phone. 

IPv6 is supported in this version of Lync.

Lync 2010 app is forward compatible with 2013 but with 2012 features only.

Multiparty HD Video Gallery

See up t 5 live video streams.  Non-active speakers are thumbnailed below, and are promoted to video as they speak.


H.264 SVC should make it easier to integrate other video systems into Lync, apparently.  SVC can use codecs for different quality/resolutions for different device types.

The Presenter Is In Control


The presenter can tune the view to suit the content/meeting as the set up the meeting.


There is an immersive optimised Windows 8 Lync app:


Mobile are getting VOIP and video in the Lync app.  Mobile phones will not have full meeting content in this release.  Desktop/app sharing being added to iPad (full set of meeting content).

The Web app is being enhanced for Windows & Mac.  They are getting VOIP and Video – no need for a 50 MB download for the once-off partner/customer/supplier attendee.  IE, Safari, and FireFox offered on PC and Mac.  There is a control to default to the webapp for Mac users.

Video will not be available on Exchange OWA. 

Mobile Apps will GA some months after the server bits.  The Windows 8 app will GA the same time as the server bits.

Communicate Directly From Office

The people cards are Lync powered.  You can contact anyone from throughout Office apparently.  See what they’ve been saying recently on Social Networks, etc. 


OneNote Sharing

OneNote and Lync meetings are integrated.  You can associate a note with a meeting invite.  You can share OneNote as additional in-meeting content.  OneNote updates automatically with the meeting attendees (meeting minutes – see their invite acceptance status).  The notes can be shared from many places: SkyDrive, SharePoint, your PC.


Federated.  Communicate with hundreds of millions of people with presence, IM, and voice.  E.g. talk to family at home when you’re on the road or in the office.  Talk with other companies that are on Skype.  Provide support to customers on Skype.

Video is not added in this first release of the federation.  To be in a “future”, “very quick” release.  It is a “high priority”.  It won’t take 3 years.

Enterprise Benefits


Archiving of IM being added in the online product.  Split domain being added so you can split between on-premises and online – Lync Hybrid.

Today, UK and USA users can add PSTN to their Lync online through a Telefonica subsidiary.  The SIP trunks are to the MSFT data centre (alien speak to me – I’m allergic to phones). 

In this release, you can link your PBX into Lync Online – Lync Hybrid.  You can still use you existing contracts, PBX, etc.  More details to come from MSFT later or in preview documentation.

Persistent Chat not in online product.  Response Groups not in this release of Lync Online. 

Windows 8 Lync App Is Not Public Yet

Metro App, including Windows RT:



Note that the Lync app also uses the Windows 8 charms.

Designed for side-by-side, only possible on Windows 8:




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Early Impressions Of Office 2013 Beta

I installed Office 2013 on my Windows 8 Build slate PC on Monday night.  Here are some early impressions:

  • It’s very different looking.  The layout has been optimized to make it touch friendly, but still appears to be mouse friendly.
  • The new control that everyone is talking about reminds me of something in the Star Trek’s of the last 20 years.
  • I really like where Word has gone.  Becoming a consumer of information is a great idea.  It is now also a reader, can scale the doc to your tastes, and can remember where you left off.  That makes it very Kindle-like.  It can also open and edit PDF.  Bye-bye Adobe Reader; you and your constant patching requirements (that are usually not done) won’t be missed.
  • As a person who writes the occasional white paper, I like how Word now allows flexible placement of images.  Note that we never embed images when writing books; the editors do that in the later PDF stages.
  • I love the new presenter view in PowerPoint.  I’ve been dreaming of presenting from my slate PC in the past.  I hate being tied to behind a podium when presenting and I don’t like looking back to the screen to remind me of what I’m talking about on this slide.  Plus being able to use “ink” to highlight things will be useful.
  • I haven’t looked into Lync or Outlook too much yet.  I have them working with Office365 with no extra work other than signing in (as usual).

Don’t ask me about Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange servers.  I haven’t a clue what’s new yet.  To be honest, they are usually outside of my scope of work.  There is a boat load of new documentation on for the “wave 15” betas of Office.

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