Packnet Blog

Microsoft has completed the initial stage of its plan to integrate the enterprise unified communications Lync server with its Skype user network for IM and IP telephony.

The update has made it possible for Skype and Lync users to communicate with each other by making contact through audio calls and chatting via IM text. There are also plans to integrate video conferencing in the near future.

The interoperability is workable for businesses that have installed Lync versions 2010 and 2013 on their servers, as well as for firms which utilise it as part of Microsoft’s 365 suite, which has other components such as SharePoint Online and Exchange Online. Users of Skype will, however, need to have the most up-to-date Mac or Windows OS.

More than 90 per cent of the Fortune 100-listed companies use Lync, with the product providing voice communication for five million enterprise users. Microsoft says that Skype now has an active user-base of around 300 million.

Enterprises can take dual advantage of the integration, according to Forrester Research analyst Henry Dewing. Lync users can talk with partners, customers and other third party Skype users.

Stephen Roux, infrastructure manager for L’Occitane en Provence, which has been standardised on Lync for video conferencing, IP telephony, IM and presence for many years, said how it would be ideal if everyone used Lync, but explained that this was not the case.

Roux explained that the interoperability will help the company to communicate with customers and partners, many of whom have already started using Skype. He also went onto say it should boost productivity.

Microsoft unveiled its Skype-Lync plans in 2012 and demonstrated how the two products would interact in February, promising that the integration’s initial phase would be available worldwide this June, a deadline it has successfully met.

Callum Byrnes