back to article Microsoft points at Skype, Lync: You two, in my office – right now

Microsoft has confirmed it will roll out Skype for Business – the service formerly known as Microsoft Lync – across its subscription-based Office 365 cloud this month. "Skype for Business Online is now rolling out to Office 365 customers worldwide, and we expect the roll out to be complete by the end of May," said the Skype …

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Yeah, it's great but...

We use Lync at work, and it works fine, but really it's just an IM client, so if we wind up with something else, so what?

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Re: Yeah, it's great but...

The thing is, you can host Lync servers yourself and keep control of all your data within your company intranet. What about Skype for Business? I'm guessing that's a no.

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Re: Yeah, it's great but...

"The thing is, you can host Lync servers yourself and keep control of all your data within your company intranet."

Actually you cannot, Lync is closed source so you can never say if it isn't sending out encrypted copies of the messages for selected few people. If you want to have IM there's _plenty_ of open solutions like XMPP.

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Re: Yeah, it's great but...

Incorrect. Firstly, privileged parties do get to review the source code of MS products for security reasons such as this. Secondly, whilst you might not notice, there are plenty of parties that would notice Lync reaching out of your network to send your information back to MS HQ. Kapersky Labs would be on that faster than you can say "lawsuit". It's neither in MS's best interests nor their capabilities to pull this. Would you really want to chance the reputation of your flagship product (Office) on the idea that no-one would ever monitor their network traffic, no security specialist would ever test it and none of the numerous people who would have to be in the know in your company would ever blow the whistle? Short answer: you're a raving paranoid who hasn't thought this through.

What is not paranoid however (but slightly more on topic) is the idea that a really good product (Lync) will be screwed over by a forced merge with a pretty awful product (Skype) for the sake of Marketing trying to monetize the Skype user base.

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Re: Yeah, it's great but...

Shhhh. Grown ups are talking.

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Re: Yeah, it's great but...

Short answer: you're a raving paranoid who hasn't thought this through.

ROFL!!! Upvoted not only due to being right, but also an uncanny ability to distill your whole rebuff down to just this one succinct and highly amusing statement.

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Re: Yeah, it's great but...

We use Lync at work and it doesn't work fine. Why not? Because it requires you to push your head right up Microsoft's silo, and we have some non-MS kit. The Apple version is poor. The Linux version is non-existent - with a firm promise that it will remain so. The WIndows version works mostly, kind-of (I remember laughing in disbelief as it popped up a message about a missed phone call *whilst I was in the middle of that call*).

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Re: Yeah, it's great but...

<<"Actually you cannot (keep control of your data).>>

Maybe *you* can't. I can do outbound packet inspection at the perimeter of my network if I'm nervous about that possibility.

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Re: Yeah, it's great but...

Skype for Business will be available for on-premise installs as well.

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Coat

@ h4rm0ny -- Re: Yeah, it's great but...

What is not paranoid however (but slightly more on topic) is the idea that a really goodsad attempt at a knock-off product (Lync) will be screwed overhumanely euthanized by a forced merge with a pretty awful productthe product and service it vainly tried to emulate (Skype) for the sake of Marketing trying to monetizeby popular demand of the Skype user base.

There, FTFY. Now...like the guy above said...Shhh, adults are talking.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah, it's great but...

"but really it's just an IM client"

No, Lync is a full unified comms suite, including multipoint AV conferencing and telephony.

"so if we wind up with something else, so what?"

It you also use Outlook / Exchange or Office 365 as well then nothing will replace Lync and provide as great an integrated solution...

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Oh boy, probably continuing the ever-worse skype releases...

MS is the kiss of death to good software.

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Re: Oh boy, probably continuing the ever-worse skype releases...

Skype was NEVER good

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh boy, probably continuing the ever-worse skype releases...

Yep, Skype was never great but it sort of worked.

Since MS has got its mitts on ot, it has gotten a lot worse. It is much harder to make a 'phone' to a POTS subscriber call these days. I've even had to pay international rates for a call to a number that was in Bristol (UK) and I was just down the road in Weston.

Come back Sametime, all is forgiven

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Re: Oh boy, probably continuing the ever-worse skype releases...

The latest update with the 'if you want to exit our battery-sucking app that sucks you need to re-enter your username and password all over again on restarting it' is the straw that's broke the camel's back, I'm testing alternatives to this heap of junk. If you haven't updated already then don't.

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Re: Oh boy, probably continuing the ever-worse skype releases...

Skype turned to shite as soon as Microsoft got its grubby hands on it, and it's getting worse. Now it's just untrustworthy shite.

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Re: Oh boy, probably continuing the ever-worse skype releases...

>>"Now it's just untrustworthy shite."

Skype sold out to the NSA all by themself, before MS got a hold of them. Check your information. Those joining PRISM the chronological order was something like Skype, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo. I can't remember where the others were but Skype was always crap and always untrustworthy. I used to argue with everyone I met about it that they should be using some open SIP client but few people listened. And now look where we are. :(

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Anonymous Coward

Fantastic news!

We've only just finished an 'upgrade' from Lotus Sametime to Lync. And now we have to do it all over again. Nice one Microsoft, this is why sane IT departments avoid you like the plague.

I dislike Lync intensely, but it did answer the question of what happened to the muppets who wrote the UI for Microsoft Money. Seems they didn't get sacked after all.

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Re: Fantastic news!

I'm interested, why do you dislike it? As a Lync user in a large organisation (thousands of people online all round the world), I find it a great tool. It tells me someone's status quickly (online, busy, away from their desk, offline etc). It lets me send a quick message to anyone in the organisation. Internally, it offers a quick, easy way to screen share, which can be very useful.

As far as I can see, that's all it's really meant to do, and it does it pretty well. I suppose there may be other features (video calling?) but I don't see them shoved down my throat.

If this becomes Skype, no doubt we'll be force-fed all of Skype's nonsense - buggy interface, silly blocks of colour instead of information, inability to work out which microphone/speaker/headset combination you want to use, inability to log out, resource hogging, inconsistent UI across different computers, random regressions due to "upgrades"... Yay.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fantastic news!

I previously used Office Communicator and find Lync a huge step backwards in useability. The interface is an abomination and lacks any meaningful layout customisation.The amount of wasted on-screen space in order to carry out a simple text conversation renders it unviable for me to the point that I no longer use it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fantastic news!

"why do you dislike it?"

Here goes:

1. Wasted whitespace everywhere. I have other things to do in my day that don't involve Lync.

2. Too many windows - I actually liked Sametime's list single paned and tabbed interface; it was the only product from Lotus that was usable.

3. Conference call quality has significantly dropped since moving from our previous WBC offering to Lync.

4. Can't paste 'long messages' into a conversation. WTF!? This isn't Twitter.

5. Pasting images into conversations is a joke: tiny thumbnails, having to open a separate application to see the image, the weird and pointless 'cancel' link - click this and you've lost the image. Even Sametime got this right.

6. Clumsy handling of presentations - everyone struggles with getting this flowing well, and meetings are now far more choppy. And this is even with people who have lots of meetings.

7. The phone dialer often doesn't work with the numeric keys on the keyboard, so I end up clicking numbers. And my blood pressure keeps going up.

8. 'Do you want to close all tabs or the current tab?' There's an 'Always close all tabs' option which I never want, but no 'Always close current tab' option which I do want. Gaaah!

I could go on, but from a personal level, I just think the interface is clunky, non-intuitive and ugly, and when something compares unfavourably to a Lotus product, you know it's no good.

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Anonymous Coward

Humm - we (HP) too have just rolled out Lync across the company and, while it has hiccups, it does integrate nicely with Office/Outlook and works well.

I wonder how long MS will support Lync - I can't see us changing any time soon.

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Def
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We on the other hand just ditched Office Communicator (the precursor to Lync) in favour of Jabber - presumably because Skype was on the horizon.

For some reason our IT department have a pathological fear of peer to peer software, and so instead of just using Skype for all video conferencing we, instead, spend millions on purchasing custom video conferencing systems that barely work half the time anyway. (Which also has the consequence of making it infinitely harder for employees to work from home and still attend stand ups - basically anyone spending the day at home just skips the stand up.)

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I happen to love Jabber. I only got it working one time, but that was when I had to demonstrate my ability to "video call" from home in order to be excused from travelling for a pointless 3-day project meeting in a soulless business park near Oxford. Come the day, Jabber failed so I missed the entire meeting but had the most productive week of my tenure with zero interruptions!

Is there no Web RTC product yet to replace all these silly messengers?

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Windows

We use jabber, cool thing. As for conferencing, we use some crap proprietary BS. yes, I know hello.firefox.com, yes it does work, and yes it comes free, and no it does not require firefox clients, and, no I do not know why we spend thousands on crapware - no lync/Skype/Communicator over here, mind ... Au weier, as the Germans say.

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Anonymous Coward

"We on the other hand just ditched Office Communicator (the precursor to Lync) in favour of Jabber "

Very poor choice versus upgrading to Lync.

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Installed it today

So I just installed Skype for business today. It's really just Lync with a new skin. I don't think you'd even need to upgrade the server unless you had some old version that doesnt support the updated client.

I found the new UI to be rubbish, very little contrast in some areas, like using Office 365 without using the light-grey or dark-grey theme.

The new notification sounds are even worse, so I will be changing those pretty quickly.

You can switch between the lync/Skype themes by changing a registry key and restarting the client.

I much prefer 'Lync' as a name as well. Lotus Sametime had some perks but I prefer Lync

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Re: Installed it today

>>"So I just installed Skype for business today. It's really just Lync with a new skin."

Thank goodness for that - sanity prevails (unusually).

Do they sell an upgraded version without the new skin?

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Re: Installed it today

The ways it'd going with BSkyB, you'll get the name Lync back sooner than you expect.

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FAIL

Shocker

Lync is okay is you don't think of it as a time wasting IM client and use it for the web and video business chat. (Expensive licence aside) Even then there are better but as Lync doesn't work with MS Direct Access it has become quickly out paced by most other competitors.

But Skype was always pants, you can't use it for business when it is NSA riddled, cloud based and peer to peer. A whole host of regulations should be flashing red warnings when you consider using Skype for business. Then again you can't use Office 365 so two things to avoid wrapped in one nice little package.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shocker

"as Lync doesn't work with MS Direct Access"

Yes it does:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/19407.running-lync-2013-client-on-directaccess-computer.aspx

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Devil

Microsoft have spent a lot of money acquiring the Skype name

You can bet the marketroids are going to want to use it.

And let's face it - "Lync" does sound a bit like a sexually transmitted disease. "I went down the doctors with a case of the lync yesterday" "What they give you, antibiotics gain?" "Yeah"

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Authenticating via...?

So we have Skype for business authenticating with an Office 365 account, and Skype authenticating with a Microsoft/Live/Outlook.com account?

That's not confusing at all! Comon MS - single sign on!

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"carefully skinning Lync ... to look just like Skype"

Good Lord, why would they do that? Lync 2013 looks smart and clean. Skype looks like a Tonka toy.

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Anonymous Coward

My main gripe with Lync is it lets useless bastards across the globe know I'm at my desk, so they can beg me for help with deadlines that despite being circulated months ago they've left until past the last minute.

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AC on deadline beggars

Try inviting yourself to meetings during the endangered periods. If people can read your calender, you can call it something like Deadline KPI controls.

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Pint

'Show as away' is your friend.

Thank me later... not that I ever do such things... I say, is it beer o'clock?

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> My main gripe with Lync is it lets useless bastards across the globe know I'm at my desk

1. Assign those of your contacts that you trust to "Workgroup" and check the settings for the permissions on notifications from members of Workgroup.

2 Status = Do not disturb.

3. Get stuff done.

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"Incorrect. Firstly, privileged parties do get to review the source code of MS products for security reasons such as this. Secondly, whilst you might not notice, there are plenty of parties that would notice Lync reaching out of your network to send your information back to MS HQ. "

First point, actually this software is closed source. Having some privileged few parties get to look over it really isn't at all reassuring to me.

Second point is 100% true, enough people run traffic sniffers to notice if Lynx were phoning home without authorization, it clearly doesn't do this or it would have been called out for it a long time ago.

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Anonymous Coward

"First point, actually this software is closed source. Having some privileged few parties get to look over it really isn't at all reassuring to me."

Well at least someone looks at it. Unlike say OpenSSL as we found recently...

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Bullocks and more bullocks

Both Skype and Lync are crap.

Ditch them both and try some open source solutions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bullocks and more bullocks

"Both Skype and Lync are crap.

Ditch them both and try some open source solutions."

There isn't anything that even comes close to the functionality and integration - or that would adequately scale to hundreds of thousands of users like Lync does...

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Hmm

My need for skype ended in 2011, which is fortunate because I didn't trust them to keep releasing linux versions when ms took over, I did briefly look around for alternatives but never tried any, does anyone have experience with using 'brosix' ?

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Ummm.... you know it's the same, right?

Skype for Business is just the latest version of Lync. Updated UI, new brand, and updated server and online service.

If you use Lync at work, and then you switch to Skype for Business at work, it's like upgrading to the next version.

And yes, there is a server version of Skype for Business you can put in your company's data center. It's the upgrade to the Lync Server 2013.

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What happened to...

A plain old telephone? Its has worked for over 100 years and continues to function well.

This Lync/Skype (whatever) program does a couple of things:

Good: Reduces per call cost.

Bad: Locks you into Microsoft products that have initial costs for all involved, and get superceded by the next version that has "shiny shiny" to impress people to buy the next version, forcing everyone to upgrade so the CEO can have his "feature".

Note: A telephone from over 50 years ago STILL works on a modern phone line. I can't say as much for these products.

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"Carefully skinning"

You mean turning the appealing, formatted square photos into stupid, off-center round ones (which nobody asked for... but you know... DESIGNERS! DESIGNERS!)

Is that what they meant by "spent the intervening months carefully skinning"?

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