back to article Skype for Business is not Skype – realising that is half the battle

Skype revolutionised IP-based video calling to such an extent it became a verb, much like Google. This largely consumer technology went pro in 2011 when Microsoft bought the firm for $8.5bn. Microsoft, of course, already had IP-based video as part of its unified communications platform, first with Office Communicator and then …

Anonymous Coward

"increasing its focus on adoption resources."

Which translates into more subscription moolah for MS, aka Vendor Lock-In.

AND

More lovely data that they can slurp to feed their addiction.

I am so glad that I cut the cord and after a bit of MS withdrawal 'cold turkey' I am in remission.

Proud member of MA (Microsoft Anonymous). 11 months and counting.

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Anonymous Coward

Skype Lync

So-called Skype for Business is basically just Lync then?

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Re: Skype Lync

Yup. It's just a rebranded Lync. I think the only thing that it has in common with Skype are the letters S-K-Y-P-E

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Re: Skype Lync

Yes, even the runtime is still called Lync.exe

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Re: Skype Lync

Yes, it is Lync and not only that but its still Lync 2011

There is also something called "Skype Meetings App" which is also Lync but with a new fancy icon and name. Then we also have Skype for Business, Skype, Skype with Chips, Skype with Beans, Skype, more Skype, wonderful Skype....

... Bloody Vikings

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Re: Skype Lync

It's just bipolar. Every update seems to be confused which one it wanted to be.

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I'd used Skype for years until they issued their latest Android version, which was such a mess that I've uninstalled it from my phone and haven't bothered to reinstall it on my laptop after my last OS refresh. Why the hell can't MS leave a good working product alone?

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Unhappy

"Why the hell can't MS leave a good working product alone?"

That's easy to explain in terms of corporate behavior.

When an apex predator invades a rivals territory, after it has forced the rival into a display of submissiveness it then proceeds to mark the territory as its own.

Usually by defecating on every part of that territory.

IOW this is MS p**sing on Skype's customer base to mark them as their own.

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Standard operating procedure. Big company buys smaller company, gets rid of everyone who made smaller company, bigger company with no experience of smaller company's service attempts to improve it, wonders why smaller company users are unhappy with the service. This happens every time.

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Skype mobile

The software kept getting worse...I had to cancel my premium subscription... and uninstall it, first from the mobile phone, as it was eating the battery, and then from the desktop, as it was eating ridiculous amounts of memory and CPU. I just use the web skype, and that is good for me... but I prefer hangouts these days, it works better. YMMV as plenty of ISPs throttle google and google services...

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Or to put it another way, the big company aims to buy certain "assets" like the name and customer base that have gained value. It's accountancy lead. So the substantive product is not really of interest and can, they think, be replaced by the existing own product or allowed to wither.

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I took this thread as a reminder to uninstall the app from my Android phone, which I've just done. I'd read about the upgrade here on Reg before mine was automatically updated, and I wondered what all the fuss and histrionics could possibly be about — it's a chat program, how bad could it be? Less than a minute's use described to me in intimate detail why I too would have to finally abandon Skype.

I'm still running a 2015 version on my desktop here, but it's only a matter of time before forced disfunctionality will prompt an upgrade and then myself and the one other person who I still use to talk to with it will likely uninstall. My contacts bar has been an ever-greying wasteland these last few years as people jump to WhatsApp et al, roads I've no intention of going down.

Why can't we just have a stupid-simple plain-vanilla IM client witout corporate behemoths meddling or buying up to scour and deprivatise (looking at you, Facebook)? Grr.

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If you trust apkmirror...

Skype 7.46.0.596

Which is the latest non-Snapchat version.

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Very much in the same boat. I've used it for years as a free VoIP solution for international (video)calls. It worked fine but years of "improvements" by MS turned it into such a power-hog that my iPhone's battery seems to be discharging even when connected to power supply. Difficulties with getting remote side to pick up calls (possibly user error), deteriorated call quality (now that MS also wanted to MITM connections) and loss of popularity of the app (seems like everyone in my family has moved over) got me reconsider other options. Since I have no desire of setting up a "social" account I just went the path of least resistance and switched to FacePalmTime and (i)Messages. I'm not going to abandon my old school Skype account yet, but MS can surely forget about me switching to an MS account (or UWP crApp). F.. this.

Obviously I've made sure to not to update Skype on the phone and install Windows 7 version on Windows 10 system.

Regarding business use - Lync has been fine but Skync is messy, the UI got worse over time, graphics seem to act in funny ways on MS' "premiere" Windows 10 platform and non-IT users are just confused by the whole distinction between Skype and Skype for Business. Very much like OneDrive for Business experience. Everyone that can uses alternatives with Lync relegated to just IM tool for 1-to-1 office communications.

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> Why the hell can't MS leave a good working product alone?

Microsoft's policy is not to offer good products.

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As noted, good products left alone don't make money. Dodgy products with continuous replacements and interventions can. We've had built-in obsolescence with our devices, from fridges to door bells, for decades. Building it in to software takes a bit more effort though.

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Mushroom

Skype for Biz is a 3-D cluster.....

I've never seen a bigger fuck up in my life as what the supposed upgrade from Skype to Skype For Biz is. Inconsistent, no way to move contacts, no prior version knowledge, no way to not have to do damn near everything manually.

They should kill the baby and apply the electrodes to the old Skype and admit defeat! We're going to move to Jabber more than likely because of this disaster as staff cannot communicate and it broke our Scrum teams' daily stand-ups!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Skype for Biz is a 3-D cluster.....

" as what the supposed upgrade from Skype to Skype For Biz I"

Because there isn't an upgrade path. They are completely different products.

What sort of business runs basic Skype anyway?! It's actively blocked in most companies.

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Gimp

Re: Skype for Biz is a 3-D cluster.....

it broke our Scrum teams' daily stand-ups!

Oh no!

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Re: Skype for Biz is a 3-D cluster.....

"We're going to move to Jabber"

Be careful what you wish for. You'd be better off moving to fart-based morse code than Jabber.

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Re: Skype for Biz is a 3-D cluster.....

@yoganmahew How was the holiday on Terserus then?

Oh and sorry about the trap door near the airport - they were just building it when I was there last. Some bloke in a beard bribed the architect apparently...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Skype for Biz is a 3-D cluster.....

"You'd be better off moving to fart-based morse code"

That got me thinking.

I'd be too worried about follow-through sending a 4

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Since the personal Skype was recently updated and broke 3rd party hardware phones, does Skype for Business still allow them or do people have to just shout at their screens?

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A number of vendors offer Skype4B enabled desk phones, the most well known being Polycom.

Many people just use headsets,

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You could just install it on your mobile phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Faulty

The mobile version was crap.. havent checked in the last year or so.. but in my experience it was terrible.

It used the noise cancel mic as the main mic, for example, and I had no way to change it, and I was not alone with this problem. Did not happen with hangouts, etc.. MS said all was ok.

Also, too many resources used, etc etc.

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WHY!

I liked Lync as a PBX replacement and UC system for business.

Skype wasn't bad either for free consumer stuff.

If there was great integration, a similar UI and people could move from Skype for Skype for Business then I could understand the re-brand. But Just rebranding Lync to SfB is mental considering how different SfB is from Skype.

Had some very small business clients of mine move to O365 and I pointed them to SfB. Every single one has stuck with consumer Skype as the learning curve from Skype to SfB is just too high for what they want.

Should have kept it as Lync which has some limited Skype integration IMHO.

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Slack

Slack is the only thing I hate more than Skype. At least with Skype the history is visible to me and under my control. With Slack if you're access is revoked, everything is lost.

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Headmaster

Re: Slack

"under my control"

https://about.mattermost.com/

https://rocket.chat/

Oh, your grammar exemplifies who you're. xx

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Slack

"https://about.mattermost.com/"

No audio or video calls in that.

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Facepalm

Re: Slack

FFS. OK, let me hold your hand.

https://docs.mattermost.com/deployment/webrtc.html

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Re: FFS. OK, let me hold your hand.

"The feature is a working prototype for community development and not recommended for production"

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Orv
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Re: Slack

At least with Skype the history is visible to me and under my control.

Although quite likely to be mysteriously out of order...

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Skype for Business/Lync is just a pain in the arse.

MS basically need to offer a unified client that adapts to either a business or personal context. I know the switch from Lync to Skype for Business has only recently taken place, so it can only get better, given where it is right now.

However, things like Slack just work better

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LDS
Silver badge

This is typical Microsoft. One group boght Skype, another was developing Lync, nobody will renounce to its power and collaborate to build a strong communication infrastructure where business can call personal users (with maybe some security features to avoid leaks or hacks) and viceversa.

The only result is they are killing Skype and losing all the advantages of having a client so widespread - more and more users have left and are leaving... and good luck in bringing them back.

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The thing is, Lync got renamed to Skype for Business and had a UI makeover to match Skype's Fisher Price UI (the one that got introduced when MS bought it and version numbers started getting shooting up for no good reason).

At the same time, Skype has just had a Snapchat UI makeover on mobile and Desktop will follow. It makes Skype's UI even worse, if that were possible.

What does this mean, that Lync will also get a totally unusable Snapchat UI makeover in a later Office version because marketing insist both programs be called Skype and look more-or-less the same?

Meanwhile, audio problems, group chat problems, headset problems, stupid messages saying stuff might or might not have been delivered, false presence info (online/away), file transfer, single thread UI, lack of shared chat history between devices, etc... still make Lync a crappy experience.

The best chat program MS ever did was MSN Messenger, but it seems nobody at MS even remembers it.

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"MS basically need to offer a unified client that adapts to either a business or personal context."

They are different products. You can message, video or voice call a standard Skype user from Skype for Business and vice versa.

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"However, things like Slack just work better"

Slack isn't really a Skype competitor - and barely touches UC. It's more a competitor for Microsoft Team Chat and Yammer.

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This.

My place of work has recently started replacing Cisco Jabber with Skype for Business. I'm assuming this is a purely financial move.

Jabber is clean, simple and has a functional and professional interface. It works, it's reliable, and it's easy to use.

SFB looks like something you'd expect to find on a kid's tablet - it's an awful childish UI that looks as business-like as a box of Duplo. I also find that it's far less stable and regularly crashes every couple of days as well on my machine. Well, I suppose it's consistent reliability wise. Almost all parts of Office 2016 crash with alarming regularity...

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Unhappy

" I also find that it's far less stable and regularly crashes every couple of days "

If the previous product was rock solid and this is now happening that's the issue right there.

Not overly bothered by a UI, if the underlying capability work and it's adequately accessible.

Apparently in the new version of Skype, it's not.

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Silver badge

The thing they hate most....

It works, it's reliable, and it's easy to use.

So no room for add-ons that provide missing functionality. And no option to upgrade it at regular intervals so that they can use the download as a vehicle to install new stuff you don't want.

If it ain't broke they can't make you fix it.

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As a Skype for Business user, I can't add external contacts unless our server is enabled for that function. This has been refused (rightly or wrongly) as it would mean opening up our server to Skype (non-business).

I'm a remote worker with variable bandwidth available to me so video isn't great, sharing applications does work ok. We really only use it for IM, we've probably other tools which could do the same for less.

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Oddly the business I work for allows external Skype (personal) contacts to be added and communicated with but does not allow external Skype for Business to be communicated with, even though they can be added.

Apparently if I want to communicate with our clients who also use Office 365 & Skype for Business (even though they are visible in the contact list) we have to go through a process of 'federation' with the client.

Makes no sense to me why we can communicate with world+dog, however our clients who also use Office 365 are a no-no.

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In my organisation, we can add "external contacts" but only with an email address. Adding contacts who are still using only old-fashioned Skype IDs can´t be added. So you say this is an IT department issue and they have to authorise this? Interesting... Thx!

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Silver badge

Screen sharing

I havent used Lync for a while, but we had plenty of problems with it and sharing desktops.. it worked "most of the time", video was always bad unless talking to a person in the same LAN segment, etc.

For chat it was good, but had a slight tendency to crash with W7.

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Easy

Call them using hangouts, sorted.

And you save yourselft from Lync at the same time ;)

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"Makes no sense to me why we can communicate with world+dog, however our clients who also use Office 365 are a no-no."

This is because Skype for Business federation requires knowledge of the other company's external Skype Edge server address - which might not be published to public DNS, and also that many companies want to control such external access.

Your company could chose to enable Open Enhanced Federation in Skype for Business which will accept federated connections to any company that publishes the correct DNS records.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Screen sharing

"video was always bad unless talking to a person in the same LAN segment, etc."

That sounds like a network issue. Lync video quality is very good even on moderately limited bandwidth like say 2Mbps.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Easy

"Call them using hangouts, sorted."

And let Slurp have all my corporate info? No thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Screen sharing

We used to use the screensharing functionality a lot and it worked fine though in our case it was all internal users---mostly people too darned lazy to get up out of their seat and walk two aisles over to show you something. Can't speak to the video feature as most people didn't have webcams.

I'd love to find an open source (OK... free as in beer) tool that provided decent screensharing.

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