Skype for Business Release Dates Announced

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Microsoft has announced release dates for Skype for Business Windows client, server and Office 365. The client will be an update to Lync 2013 and delivered via Office updates on April 16th as part of patch Tuesday. The client will include a Skype for Business and Lync 2013 skin, which is controllable via policy so that user experience can be managed. Skype for Business Server 2015 is targeting a release date of May 1st, and will roll out to Office 365 customers throughout the month.

Some important notes:
  • By default Office 365 users of Lync will change to the Skype for Business UI skin
  • For Lync on-premises users the update applies, however the Lync 2013 UI skin is the default
  • The default skin for Office 365 and on-premises can be controlled by policy
  • In either UI case the desktop icon will reflect Skype for Business
  • Outlook meetings will be re-branded to “Skype Meetings”, and sport a Skype for Business logo
If you have any customers currently using Lync in Office 365, it would be a good idea to make sure they are aware of the changes as they will affect end users.

Controlling the UI Experience

The following policy is available in Skype for Business Server 2015, and in Lync 2013 Server via updates. Because the default UI skin is Skype for Business, if you choose to revert users to the Lync 2013 skin, they will first be presented with the Skype for Business skin; once user policy is downloaded, they will be asked to switch. To avoid this behavoiour, you can use the following regisrty key.

Registry

By pushing out the following registry key out to workstations, you can avoid users seeing the Skype for Business skin. However, as mentioned above, they will still need to be made aware of other Skype references in the updated client.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Lync\EnableSkypeUI (REG_BINARY)
00 00 00 01 (True)
00 00 00 00 (False)

Program Icons

Lync 2013 UI vs Skype for Business UI

Skype Consumer vs Skype for Business UI

 

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