Microsoft has just announced that Lync will be renamed to Skype for Business. The underlying technology is not changing, and the 2 products will remain distinctly separate products, but features and client experience will become similar across the business and free versions.
For more information see the Office Blog. Also Matt Landis has a great summary here.
Microsoft Frequently Asked Questions
What did Microsoft announce on November 11, 2014?
In Gurdeep Pall’s blog on November 11, 2014, Microsoft introduced Skype for Business which brings together the familiar experience and user love of Skype with the enterprise security, compliance and control of Lync. In the first half of 2015, the next version of Lync will become Skype for Business with a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365. We believe 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.
Why are you renaming Lync to Skype for Business?
Skype for Business brings together the familiar experience and user love of Skype with the enterprise security, compliance, and control from Lync. End users get a familiar Skype experience that is as easy to use at work as it is at home. Organizations gain reach into a network of hundreds of millions of Skype users across the globe. And, IT remains confident they are providing secure, reliable, high-quality communications to their organizations.
Why announce rebrand in advance of the general availability release?
We are making this announcement now in order to give our customers time to learn about the product and prepare their organizations so they can deploy when the product is released. We are also using this time to
help partners build the offerings and capabilities to support those deployments.
When is Lync actually changing to Skype for Business?
Lync will become Skype for Business in the first half of 2015 with a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365.
Is there any change to the existing Skype brand used by consumers?
No. The consumer experience that people around the world know and love will continue to be referred to as Skype. Consumers will still be able to use Skype the way they always have – with the same user account,
contacts, user interface and functionalities that they have always used.
When will there be future announcements about Skype for Business?
We will be launching the new brand and product in the first half of 2015. We will keep our customers informed. Lync is becoming Skype for Business – First Half of 2015
What should I do now that I know that Lync is becoming Skype for Business in the first half of 2015?
- Now that you know Lync will becoming Skype for Business in 2015, we recommend that you:
- Download the Skype for Business – Partner Kit from the Skype for Business Partner Kit in the Partner Marketing Center on the Microsoft Partner Network.
- Review all of the materials in the kit to understand why the brand is changing, when it takes effect in your area, and what it means for customers.
- Contact customers using the email template provided in the kit to let them know that Lync will become Skype for Business in the first half of 2015 and then set up calls or meetings to present the Skype for
Business customer presentation.
- Register and join us at our Office 365 Summits starting in January 2015 to learn what you need to know to help your customers deploy and adopt Skype for Business.
What should I say to customers about the new brand?
Share your enthusiasm for announcement. Tell customers about the value Skype for Business will bring to their organization. Microsoft is bringing together the best of Skype and Lync without losing any of the
features, security and manageability that they care about. They will see further adoption of unified communications in their businesses and the cost and efficiency benefits that go along with that because of the familiar user experience that hundreds of millions of Skype users engage with every month. Furthermore, this change truly connects them to the vast Skype network which includes many
of their customers and partners. It’s important to reassure customers that the features they care about and use the most in Lync are not going away. Remind them that as a Microsoft partner, your close connection to Microsoft best positions you to continue meeting all their development, deployment, and service needs as this product evolves.
When do I use the Skype for Business name and logo in my marketing materials, website, and customer communications?
Lync is the current product in market and the materials do not change at this time. Partners should not use Skype for Business logo/brand prior to the next release, which will be available in first half of 2015. Our partners will be provided the Skype for Business brand guidelines in the coming months in time for the new release. It will outline when and how to apply the Skype for Business name and logo to your materials and communications. Do not use the brand or logo prior to receiving the brand guidelines. Lync is becoming
Skype for Business – First Half of 2015
Are you still committed to delivering Enterprise Voice in
Absolutely. We remain committed to our roadmap including the future delivery of enterprise voice in the cloud.
How will the product experience for Lync change when it’s Skype for Business?
The best features of Lync and Skype have been combined in a Skype-inspired user interface. The user experience is more tightly aligned between Skype for Business and Skype so the features are similar and intuitive whether you are in a work environment or communicating with friends and family.
- Skype for Business will include other new features such as:
- Familiar Skype icons for calling and video
- A call monitor to keep active calls visible while switching between apps
- Enterprise connection with the Skype network with IM, audio, and video
- A simpler upgrade and patch process for Skype for Business server
- and more…
Will Lync users lose any functions or features when the product becomes Skype for Business?
No. Skype for Business will deliver the same features and functionality as well as control, security, and reliability that enterprise customers expect. For instance, Skype for Business Admins will be able to
control when and how the users interface is displayed for their users. This additional control means they can deliver Skype for Business on their terms.
Can I try out Skype for Business before it becomes available?
We have nothing to announce at this time, and will keep customers informed as more information becomes available.