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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skype Lync

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

    1. Michael B.

      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

      1. joed Silver badge

        Re: Skype Lync

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

    2. ElNumbre

      Re: Skype Lync

      Yes, even the runtime is still called Lync.exe

    3. macjules Silver badge

      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

  3. Bloodbeastterror

    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?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      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.

    2. Wade Burchette

      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.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        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.

    3. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      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...

    4. detritus

      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.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      If you trust apkmirror...

      Skype 7.46.0.596

      Which is the latest non-Snapchat version.

    6. joed Silver badge

      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.

    7. nijam Silver badge

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

      Microsoft's policy is not to offer good products.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        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.

  4. s. pam
    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!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    2. Nolveys Silver badge
      Gimp

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

      it broke our Scrum teams' daily stand-ups!

      Oh no!

    3. yoganmahew

      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.

      1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

        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...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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

  5. Your alien overlord - fear me

    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?

    1. ElNumbre

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

      Many people just use headsets,

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        You could just install it on your mobile phone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

  6. The Original Steve

    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.

  7. AMBxx Silver badge

    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.

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Slack

      "under my control"

      https://about.mattermost.com/

      https://rocket.chat/

      Oh, your grammar exemplifies who you're. xx

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slack

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

        No audio or video calls in that.

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Slack

          FFS. OK, let me hold your hand.

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

          1. sabroni Silver badge

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

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

    2. Orv Silver badge

      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...

  8. 1Rafayal

    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

    1. 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.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        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.

        1. Dave K Silver badge

          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...

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            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.

          2. Terry 6 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.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      "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.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      "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.

  9. wyatt

    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.

    1. gsf333

      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.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Easy

        Call them using hangouts, sorted.

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Easy

          "Call them using hangouts, sorted."

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

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        "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.

    2. kellyjelly

      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!

    3. Aitor 1 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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

  10. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

    "went pro in 2011 when Microsoft bought the firm"

    Why does that sound strange to my ears?

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "Overall, it's anyone's guess how active Skype for Business Online really is."

    I'll bet not as many claim to be using it but don't because a)It's too complicated b)They trashed their address book.

    That classic old MS gem.

    "It's completely compatible" with your home version of <whatever MS app you're using>

    Oh no it isn't.

    Didn't people fall for that BS with why you had to have Windows on a palmtop?

  12. InNY

    Just wondering...

    <quote>It's hard to tell if business customers have been keen. Microsoft doesn't split out monthly active users by product</quote>

    If it was popular, or at least used a lot, then Microsoft would be touting it incessantly in their adverts. As they don't, can we assume, SfB is a bit of a dead duck?

  13. Milton Silver badge

    Who needs to see a face?

    Apart from one elderly member of the family with whom video calling is an advantage, and (rarely) if family are away on holiday, I've never felt the need to look at people's faces while I talk to them. Voice works perfectly well, and arguably it's easier when discussing detail and taking notes, than constantly checking someone's expression (or studiously avoiding that bit of screen cos they have a tendency to pick their nose).

    Yes, I know businesses have fallen over themselves to demonstrate hipness with video conferencing, but actually—why? What key advantage does it confer? Even flesh and blood meetings are at least a 50% waste of time in most organisations (rising to 80% in British and American companies), and phone and email remain excellent ways of simply communicating facts and opinion between people. If your teams consist of well managed competent people, they don't need much incremental meddling via technology, and if they're not you're screwed anyway.

    Strangely enough it was possible to organise building an atom bomb and putting men on the moon without a bunch of technology designed to solve problems that largely don't exist.

    Call me a curmudgeon, but I'm increasingly cynical about marketing/journalistic wankfests over this or that Wonderful New Thing—and on topic, Skype has got notably even more horrible to use lately anyway.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Video conferencing is a niche product

      I hate it, you hate it, practically everybody hates but a very small number of people/professions might actually have a use for it - and they just might hate it too.

      I'm pretty sure that what people hate is the disembodied head effect, along with the fact that when you have a phone conversation, you are free to have it any way you like and most people wander around for some unfathomable reason. When you have a video call, you are suddenly stuck in front of your camera, can't walk around, can't fool around, you are basically under a spotlight and it's of your own making.

      Yes, for personal, family calls it may be all right, from time to time. For business calls it never is.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Video conferencing is a niche product

        I hate it, you hate it, practically everybody hates but

        But... As long as everyone's griping about it, they're paying for and using it, so Microsoft's happy.

        And the bottom line on the profit sheet's all that matters, right?

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Mushroom

      "it was possible to organise building an atom bomb"

      It was achieved putting all the needed people in the same place... and ensuring nobody could go.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "it was possible to organise building an atom bomb"

        "It was achieved putting all the needed people in the same place... and ensuring nobody could go."

        Like some sort of...walled garden!

    3. H in The Hague Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Who needs to see a face?

      "Strangely enough it was possible to organise building an atom bomb and putting men on the moon without a bunch of technology designed to solve problems that largely don't exist."

      That sentence alone is worth a dozen pints (not all in the same session). I might nick that.

      Thanks.

    4. Shocked Jock

      Re: Who needs to see a face?

      Actually, there is one practical application - language tutoring, because the ability to see how sounds are formed (not to mention using pictures, objects, etc.) is helpful, particularly over a less than perfect connection.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Who needs to see a face?

        Just normal human communication is better with sight of the person. Most communication is not in the words. Voice tone and facial expression carry much of the meaning (combined together as well as discretely)

  14. naive

    Skype for business is pretty sad

    Using skype or even Teamspeak a joy, Skype for business is not at that level:

    1. Skype windows get tossed all over the place, specially annoying when trying to redirect calls, while the window with the call one is trying to transfer is buried on a random place somewhere.

    2. Lots of issues with keeping the communication between blue tooth headset and the comp working.

    3. Skype does not warn when the headset died/lost blue tooth connection but happily accepts inaudible calls.

    4. In corporate networks it takes a lot of tweaking before sound quality is acceptable.

    5. "Skype for business approved" headsets are pretty sad as well, no status leds about battery or blue tooth connection.

    6. Communication history is bad to unusable stored in outlook files.

    7. User interface has the usual fuzziness all MS products have, requiring lots on unnecessary clicking and windows which are bwarfed all over the place.

    Several months after introduction, colleagues can be heard cursing when dealing with calls, in the process losing calls when talking to customers.

    But hey, it is cheap, we already pay so much to MS, we get it for free :-).

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

      The main use I had for it was to micromanage my team, as we where all remote workers, I could see who was typing or not... and chat with them in case they are at the keyboard.

      But the MSN already got that long long time ago.. as for the contacts.. well, I see it as an intracompany thing, that makes it way more secure, if limited.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

        "I could see who was typing or not."

        So you think. Meanwhile some of us just put stuff in our calendar so it looks like we are probably at the computer...

    2. The Original Steve

      Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

      I have plenty of gripes about SfB as a fully telephony product ( see my previous comment / we use it as our phone system and I've put in place for many clients over the years), but nearly all of your points are about the headsets and hardware, not the application itself. Points 2, 3, 4 and 5 are crazy hardware which has nothing to do with the phone system itself.

      Try Jabra headsets - great selection to fit your needs and certainly the ones we use have excellent call quality, range, LED status for battery and status and the noise cancellation is great in our open plan office.

      Tweaking networking for decent quality is the same as any other VoIP system. Whilst we and my clients (one with over 3000 users) don't use / need QoS, I've had to use it for ShoreTel, Nortel and Cisco VoIP deployments. SfB uses G.711 by default from memory - it's industry standard and is NOT a SfB codec. My point is you'd have the same issues regardless of system used.

      Having ALL conversations - IM, voice, conferences etc - stashed in a dedicated folder in Outlook, allowing access from OWA, any ActiveSync client as well as Outlook itself is actually something I think is a great feature. I know it seems backwards as first glance but remember this is a UNIFIED COMMS product. Means you have all the benefits of Exchange when dealing with your phone and IM records. So you can use Outlook searching to see your communications to someone regardless of medium used, admins can use Legal Hold and eDiscovery, you have a single address book and can raise conferences as simply as creating a normal meeting in Outlook.

      I can't disagree with your points 1 and 7 - the UI leaves a lot to be desired. And SfB has lots of other issues too which we haven't touched on, but the rest of your points aren't - IMHO - really SfB specific issues.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

        "SfB uses G.711 by default from memory - it's industry standard and is NOT a SfB codec. My point is you'd have the same issues regardless of system used."

        SfB clients use SILK by default (older versions use RTA).

        G.711 is what comes out of your SfB mediation server to the PSTN.

        1. Phil W

          Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

          "SfB clients use SILK by default (older versions use RTA).

          G.711 is what comes out of your SfB mediation server to the PSTN"

          Unless you enable media bypass. This allows the client to communicate directly with the other endpoint or SIP gateway and the client can speak G.711 in that case.

          Whether you should use media bypass very much depends on the rest of your environment though.

    3. Phil W

      Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

      1. Can't say I've ever really seen that problem. Windows do tend to shuffled about a bit if you start using meeting content i.e. presentations or desktop sharing but for IM calls I've never had a problem.

      2. That's not a Skype for Business/Lync issue, that's a "Bluetooth is crap" issue. I've yet to come across a Bluetooth headset that qualifies as "very good" or better, when used with Skype for Business or not. Personally I have a Plantronics Voyager Legend UC ML headset that qualifies as "good".

      3. That will very much depend on the setup of your PC. If your Bluetooth device is one of those fancy ones that comes with it's own dongle, then the audio driver may well be attached to the dongle not the headset, so Windows is unaware when it disconnects. If it is through normal Bluetooth adapter, then the audio device will cease to exist, and admittedly Skype for Business could tell you when that happened. As for low battery notification, again that's the devices responsibility as there is no proper standard (or at least not on that that's used in Windows or Android) within Bluetooth for notifying the host about the battery state.

      4. Never seen that myself, but most likely down to QoS? HD quality audio has always worked fine for me whether internally over the FrontEnd servers or even coming in via Edge. WiFi has presented some issues but we've solved those now.

      5. They can be, but it depends how much money you spend. Sennheiser and Plantronics do some nice Lync Certified wireless headsets, but they cost a small fortune. There's no reason you have to user a certified device though, there's plenty of good uncertified devices.

      6. Mostly agreed on this, it's not great.

      7. Personally I've never had a problem with the UI, either the old Lync 2010 and 2013 UI or the new Skype for Business 2016, and I've not had any users I've had to show things more than once.

      The backend UI on the server on the other hand.... Still uses Silverlight for the main part of the web GUI, uses another crappier web interface for configuring response groups, and has no GUI at all for configuring Common Area Phones and some other things. If any part of the GUI needs work, it's the server side.

      Also as for what the article says about "the directory search will find new contacts by their Microsoft account address, but never by their Skype name." That's not exactly true, you can add a Skype user by their Skype username by entering it as skypeusername@skypeids.net this has been the case for a number of years and was introduced in Lync 2013 Server before Skype for Business was even a thing.

      Skype for Business could certainly use work, both client and server side. Some bits of it are even questionable as to whether they should be in production use. But overall it's actually quite a good system, and has a great deal of potential. Just don't blame it for the failings of your hardware or OS, or your network infrastructure.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

        2-3. It's not a Bluetooth problem because it also happens with me with a Logitech headset and their USB dongle.

        Seems if the connection to the headset cuts out and returns for whatever reason, Lync doesn't realise that it's come back and just carries on piping silence to the call.

        As for network configuration, no other IM/voice call/video call seems as flaky as Lync. You are forced to make sure layers 3-4 are set up just right for it because layers 5-7 can't cope gracefully with errors.

      2. naive

        Re: Skype for business is pretty sad

        Thanks for all the great answers in the thread. It is of course true not all the issues that were brought up can technically be attributed to MS or its Skype for Business product.

        However, MS does market it as a consolidated communication solution for companies, but it fails to mention it is not an integrated solution. Nor did it provide checks in the software to warn the user that key hardware components, needed to make or accept calls, are not working well.

  15. keith_w

    Where I worked used SfB (and previously Lync). We used it for presentations, sharing screens, we used it for remote support, again, sharing screens while allowing the support person control, we used it for team meetings, sometimes with video, sometimes without. We even used it to allow the company that managed the building HVAC system remote access to their software installed on one of our laptops, via the SfB web access. I won't say that there weren't any problems, but there were very few.

  16. ShortLegs

    Missed opportunity

    I was the 17th Skype user, many many years ago.

    At the time, I was so impressed I recommended my employer made an offer to the developers to buy it outright; my employer was one of the world's largest telco's, and we could have acquired it for as little as $10million, or even less. It's shortcoming back then was a lack of integrated directory. You installed it on one device, your contacts list was limited to that device only. I suggested that we developed it to use a centralised directory (one of the things we /were/ good at), with off-line capability, continued to give it away to build the user base, and develop a small-fee premium version which linked into our global IP transit and global voice networks, c/w voice gateways.

    It never happened. A couple of years later I left <telco>. However, a year later I received an email from the CEO, stating that Ebay had just acquired Skype for $2billion, and that as usual, I had been ahead of the curve and with hindsight it had been a bad decision not to acquire; at the least the company would have seen a massive ROI on it's investment. Nice of him to do send that.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    O365/Skype

    I see the big national organisations like the NHS moving to this and ending up with a ton of patient and staff info in the hands of MS. I doubt they'll even have the choice the way the government talk about encryption as they won't understand the risks, or rather don't care if it keeps a business partner interested.

  18. John Crisp

    Uninstall and move on

    Excellent. Especially with requirements for an email address (more data slurping) it reminded me to uninstall it as no one else uses it now.

    Rocket at work suffices. Other apps for anything else.

  19. Nickckk

    Not for me

    Microsoft did a great job of turning me off Skype. And a number of colleagues who used it. No wonder they bury user number in Office

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chat not fit for purpose

    It took less than 48hrs from our 4000-user company-wide rollout of Skype for Business for the chat portion of the program to be declared "unfit for purpose". The enormous screen real-estate needs of the UI were a large part of the problem, as was the handling of chat history.

  21. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Death of P2P video

    There used to be a pretty good selection of peer to peer video chat applications. You had to coordinate IP addresses with the person you wanted to chat with because there was no monolithic data slurping company sitting in the middle. Skype seems to have taken over the entire and killed off everybody else just like a Walmart super center will kill off the high street in a town. I blame it mostly on people not realizing that something that is more convenient is much less secure/private. I'll name it "Mach's Rule".

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I totally agree with the title of the article.

    It's very relieving.

    I am appalled at the user experience of this product.

    For a business chat platform it's missing some basic features, like maintaining a list of people you've chatted with yesterday... or even last hour!

    If I log in from different browsers I don't get the conversation history maintained... It's a cloud product FFS!

    Furthermore, downloading the standalone client is another interesting experience: conversations are not sync'd between the web and the standalone client!!

    Nice one Microsoft.

    Me? I'd use Slack any time. Or any othe product, really.

    maybe when they'll fix these ludicrous inconsistencies SkypeFB will become an awesome product and the other features will make it shine.

    So far, for me it's been a frustrating experience.

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