back to article Microsoft's Lync becomes 'Skype for Business'

Microsoft Lync is dead, replaced by Skype for Business. Lync is/was Microsoft's unified communications product and offers voice, video, instant messaging and videoconferences, all delivered from a single client. Integration with Microsoft Office means lots of click-to-talk-or-chat action. As of next year, however, Lync will …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "raises the prospect of over-the-top calls eating their lunches"

    "You actually using that pipe you are paying me for will ruin me!"

    That telecom argument didn't make any sense back in 2000. It doesn't now. Stop it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only the client hadn't blocked Skype and disabled webcams in the laptop BIOS they might have had a replacement for LYNC (which for all it's foibles has been pretty useful/stable on my slow interweb connection when talking to support staff in Singapore at 3am).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As long as it doesn't inherit Skype's infuriating problems (message delays in the order of hours or days, unworkable online awareness) then it's just a minor update with (another) rebranding for this product. But if many users have developed my low opinion of Skype, maybe businesses will see a reluctance to accept the new look and feel. (I don't like that either!)

    1. dogged

      Since it's just and only a name change, I see no reason why it would inherit any of Skype's issues.

    2. ElNumbre

      That was basically my first reaction. If its the Lync Engine under the hood, and a Skype-esq interface on top then fine. If its Skype for business formerly known as Skype, then Id struggle to validate this with our business.

      And no mention yet about the Lync for Room Systems and if they'll become Skype Rooms.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rebranding

    Microsoft love a good rebranding.

    "Microsoft says the big change is that Lync's client will get Skype's look and feel"

    Why don't they just replace it with Skype?? Now they are going to have two totally different codebases but with the same UI over the top to try and give the feel of one complete experience.... Where have they done that trick before?

    1. dogged

      Re: Rebranding

      > Why don't they just replace it with Skype??

      Because Lync is very popular in businesses and has a good reputation for ease of support. Unlike Skype.

      If anything, making Skype more like Lync would be the logical next step.

  5. gary27
    Linux

    Office on Postgres ?

    Will it run on Postgres ? That would be quite amusing !

    Consumer Skype, still does -I'm assuming, based on no news of any switch.

    Probably just a marketing, not technology, change though.

  6. John Sanders
    Meh

    What does it all mean?

    Is MS replacing the underlying lync protocol with skype's?

    Goodbye to use a Linux client (Pidgin+Sipe) with office365 users then.

    Also the entire business world "all your calls are belong to the NSA" now.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: What does it all mean?

      I expect it'll be as unified an experience as the Messenger/Skype gateway that spent months jumbling up people's contacts before being taken out back and shot.

    2. dogged

      Re: What does it all mean?

      > Is MS replacing the underlying lync protocol with skype's?

      As per the article, no.

      Now, you were saying?

      (Jesus suffering fuck, I wish people would RTFA before hitting the "Sky is falling" macro)

  7. I_am_Chris

    shame

    " None of Lync's features will go"

    I was hoping it's feature of crashing every 5min on my Mac would be fixed. Oh well shall stick with Adium.

  8. myxiplx2

    WTF??

    Do they seriously expect businesses to be happy with people's grandmas calling in via Skype during corporate meetings?

    They're going to need to be very careful how they handle this if they want to avoid pissing off businesses and confusing users, with a very clear distinction between Skype for Business, and Skype.

    But given Microsoft's track record, this will be driven by marketing, and they'll attempt to ignore these problems and wind up making a total hash of both products in the process.

  9. The Quiet One

    How to lose friends and alienate people

    Well Done MS - bring a raft of sweeping changes to the one piece of software enterprise IT departments actually get thanked for deploying.

    For the most part users really like Lync, of all the version upgrades and new products we roll out none has had such a positive effect on the business.

    Stop messing with things that work just fine as they are!! Keep the enterprise and consumer crap separate.

    1. TastesLikeChicken

      Re: How to lose friends and alienate people

      Totally agree, we've only just started seeing real uptake in our rate of user adoption of Lync. This is after almost 3 years including a version upgrade (2010 ro 2013). We've been telling staff for last few years they're not allowed to have Skype??

  10. h4rm0ny
    FAIL

    Oh Dear Goddess, NO!

    Lync is probably the best product MS make. Skype is quite possibly the worst (if we exclude historical things they no longer support). Everything is going backwards, today.

    I LOATHE the "Skype look and feel", it's unprofessional, uneasy on the eye, and all round hideous to look at. And recently it got WORSE! The Skype interface can be summed up as "Apple done wrong".

    The entirety of the Skype code base should be transferred to a single hard drive, have holy wafers stuffed in its SATA port and be buried with a magnet through its spindle.

    And when I say "buried", I mean tossed into a volcano in Mordor by a hobbit.

    I hate it. Genuinely despise it. It holds back and displaces so many better solutions and Could Have Been's. Technology would categorically be in a better place today if it had failed. And I detest that a worse technology (by far) is starting to subsume a better one. I'm going to fire up my Debian box and do everything I need from that instead of my Windows 8 one. I don't want to touch anything Microsoft, today.

  11. Simon Jones [MSDL]

    HUGE Mistake

    This is another HUGE mistake, just like renaming “Internet Mail and News” to be “Outlook Express” was. Users get easily confused with two DIFFERENT products called such similar names.

    It is the same with “OneDrive” and “OneDrive for Business”. They are completely different but users can’t see the distinction, causing loads of headaches for the users and especially support personnel.

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: HUGE Mistake

      Though not quite as bad as renaming Hotmail to Outlook. I mean, at least Outlook Express had a slight naming variant. Now you get people asking questions about Outlook-the-webmail on Outlook-the-office-mail-program forums, and you can't blame them, it has the same frigging name!

      For that matter it is now completely confusing to search for problems with the latest (any?) version of Chrome, FF etc. How do you search for an issue that applies to versions 21 through to 38? Ridiculous.

      /Rant

  12. msknight Silver badge

    Work personal balance

    I have to find myself pondering the blurring of the line between work and personal contacts, and all the consequences thereof. I see trouble in them thar hills.

    I mean ... linking skype and lync contacts ...? Then how do you sign on to the new system ... with your work SkypeForBusiness ID or your personal skype ID, or are they expecting people to really cough to "talking with sales" when they're really having a conversation with Aunt Flo who moved Down Under?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "a simple matter of updating one's client software and Lync server."?

    Really? Simple? That's a nine months long project for our IT org. First, set up a brand new server with the new version of Lync. Verify that it can work alongside the old version, for all of the users will not be updated at the same time hence we need coexistence of the new version with the old one. Second, build a packaged client install and make sure it works with the custom proxy settings, custom list of trusted sites (now two pages long) and the myriad firewall rules. Oh, and it does install without errors and does not break something else on the client. Third, make sure SSO still works, which can be a challenge in some situations (it currently does not when Outlook and Lync are on different versions) Set up a three month long proof of concept phase where all this is discovered that ends up taking six months, plus another three for deploying across the world.

    Oh, and don't forget to make a special exception for virtual desktop users, of course, as you discover (not Microsoft, but you) how voice and video work (or does not) over thin clients and thus your virtual desktop business case breaks.

    During all this, call Microsoft support and get basically three stock answers "upgrade everything to the latest version" (not possible) "reinstall from scratch, we don't know what is wrong with your server but certainly works on our side" and then "please send us a network trace taken from the malfunctioning client so that we can refer you to the first or second answers when we see something different between your traces and ours"

    There will be some licensing discussions in the middle of all this, for sure.

    I realize that some of these bumps in the road may be unique to our organization, but I feel that this is the somewhat typical cycle of Microsoft technology adoption.

    By the time the IT guys are done, Skype for business will be rebranded as XBox Universal Connector or something else and it will be time to start again. And Microsoft wonders why people aren't quicker in adopting their technologies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "a simple matter of updating one's client software and Lync server."?

      "First, set up a brand new server..."

      Right Click ... Clone Server ... assign new ip, install upgrade over the top. Start testing with some clients on existing version. Clone one and run as a test VM with the upgrade. Check your scenarios and test scripts, rollout upgrade.

      I would have a look at your internal processes and see if they are as streamlined and efficient as they should be.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "First, set up a brand new server..."

        "Right Click ... Clone Server ... " - ah yes, you're making some assumptions:

        - The existing Lync server is running the same OS version as the one Skype for business needs. Which may or may not be the case. If it is not the same OS version, then you'll need to build a brand new server. Not everyone is running the latest and greatest Lync version.

        - You're using a VM. In case you're not aware (and I'm not sure about the current situation) MS did not support in the past any products running under VMs (and now it does not support anything running on non Hyper-V VMs) So previous Lync versions may very well running on physical servers. So no "clone server" for physical machines.

        - Depending on sizing requirements, some shops (even Hyper-V ones) choose to dedicate a whole set of physical servers when the requirements are so huge that they practically eat a single physical node. Microsoft and their minions like a lot to overspec things to avoid performance issues, but again you're tied to follow their directions if you want their support not to throw back at you the "hardware is not powerful enough" card.

        - You have a wide variety of scenarios to test: virtual desktops, Citrix sessions, thin and thick (desktops and laptops) clients. With direct connections to company network, direct internet connections, dedicated inter company VPN tunnels and VPN over standard internet connections over three different remote access points. And scattered across the world in different timezones. So it is not just a matter of executing a few test scripts.

        You're right in that internal processes are not as streamlined and efficient as they could be (who can claim that they are?) but there are facilities to provision a new server in a matter of hours, so these are not the roadblock.

        But far away from "a simple matter of updating" client and server.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "First, set up a brand new server..."

          "Not everyone is running the latest and greatest Lync version."

          The original comment was about upgrading over the current version. If you run old software as a rule, not sure why you'd care about this. You'd just upgrade in your regular cycle/hardware refresh.

          "- You're using a VM. In case you're not aware (and I'm not sure about the current situation) MS did not support in the past any products running under VMs (and now it does not support anything running on non Hyper-V VMs) So previous Lync versions may very well running on physical servers. So no "clone server" for physical machines."

          Rubbish, of course Microsoft support other Hypervisors. As long as they are certified under SVVP (most are)

          " Depending on sizing requirements, some shops (even Hyper-V ones) choose to dedicate a whole set of physical servers when the requirements are so huge that they practically eat a single physical node....if you want their support not to throw back at you the "hardware is not powerful enough" card."

          Eh? Not sure you really understand virtualisation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "First, set up a brand new server..."

            "The original comment was about upgrading over the current version. If you run old software as a rule, not sure why you'd care about this. You'd just upgrade in your regular cycle/hardware refresh"

            Agree, not a "simple" matter of upgrading client and server in that case neither.

            "Rubbish, of course Microsoft support other Hypervisors. As long as they are certified under SVVP (most are)"

            The point is that Microsoft has not supported other Hypervisors forever, hence previous versions of Lync are unlikely to be running on a VM, especially for those using VMWare. And it is only very recently that Hyper-V has been considered ready to be deployed on the data center.

            "Eh? Not sure you really understand virtualisation"

            I think I do, but you perhaps need a deeper understanding of the economic realities of virtualisation and how they interplay with oversubscribing and vendor support.

            If your original point was "it is an easy upgrade if you're running the latest versions of everything on an all Microsoft stack" then I'd tend to agree, subject to the complexity of the testing. Don't think there are many landscapes out there that fit your criteria. Yours is clearly one. Mine is not. Most are like mine, not like yours.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch the rollout boys and girls

    Terrible interface, terrible massaging time delays, terrible roll out took my global infrastructure out for 12 hours... so now we're all on shadow IT and use WhatsApp over 3G...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Watch the rollout boys and girls

      Your massage was late? Fire the Thai ladyboy I say!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confusion reigns again

    Ugh. They're trying to capitalise on a successful brand, but all they will do is confuse end users. It's still two separate clients, with two separate sets of functionality - but users will just call out problems with skype" and it will tarnish both brands.

    1. Irongut

      Re: Confusion reigns again

      Nah it will tarnish Lync. It isn't possible to tarnish a turd like Skype.

      1. BlartVersenwaldIII

        Re: Confusion reigns again

        It isn't possible to tarnish a turd

        But you can roll it in iron filings and wait for it to rust. And then lacquer it to preserve the tarnished turd.

        Can't say I have much love for the lync client (where the hell is the option to set typeface and size for incoming text? Just because J Random User likes their messages in 32pt pink comic sans doesn't mean I want to be subjected to it) but at least it does more-or-less what it says on the tin. The skype UI is perplexingly huge and, to my eye, aesthetically horrible. I haven't seen it in action enough to start actively despising its functionality however, but the missus continually moans about how unreliable it is.

        Wish that more hosting providers provided XMPP along with their web and mail services...

  16. Phil_Evans

    Cannon and Ball

    "Skype is undoubtedly a bigger brand than Lync"

    Yes, I remember the cringe-worthy pair, Ant & Dec being the latter day Saints of said cause: "after they were famous".

    So kill a brand that has outed more PBXs than anything else and replace it with a kid's toy. Great.

  17. splodge

    So Lync is an example of a good macroshite product?

    This will be so much fun.

  18. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    it barely works on vmware

    Used to work with a small data center using lync on a virtual host (enough provisions for it to meet requirements) sorted certs, got it working internally but it would point blank refuse to connect to the outside world. Even took out it outside of the internal firewalls and still wouldn't play ball.

    Skype though, open the right port through an internal proxy and it ran fine (bar the office whiner moaning that it was our fault messages vanished or turned up later).

    Don't even get me started on ms support. Hitting my head on the desk hurt less.

    If it's a rebounding then sod em, what they really need is a simple way to force Skype through a server so it can log messages for those of us who use it to replace messenger rather than make phone or video calls.

  19. batfastad

    Good news!

    This is good news. I really like using desktop applications that have adverts pumped into them.

  20. adfh

    Wow.. That video...

    Clearly they had the geniuses behind "that" Microsoft Songsmith and the Windows 7 Launch Party ads working on it...

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