Skype for Business

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"Microsoft Lync" redirects here. It is not to be confused with LINQ or Lynx.
Not to be confused with Skype for Business Server.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business Logo.png
Developer(s) Microsoft
Stable release 16.0.4229.1024 / 22 September 2015; 14 days ago (2015-09-22)
Operating system Windows, Windows Phone, Android and iOS
Platform IA-32 and x86-64
Size 53 MB[1] – 55 MB[2]
Type Instant messaging, web conferencing, and collaborative software
License Trialware[1][2]
Lync for Mac
Microsoft Lync 2011 for Mac logo.png
Developer(s) Microsoft
Stable release 2011
Operating system OS X 10.5.8 and later[3]
Type Instant messaging, web conferencing, and collaborative software
License Proprietary commercial software (Volume licensing only)[4]

Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Office Communicator and Microsoft Lync) and Microsoft Lync for Mac are instant messaging clients used with Microsoft Lync Server or Lync Online available with Microsoft Office 365.[5] They are replacements for Windows Messenger, which was used with Microsoft Exchange Server.

Both Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Lync for Mac are enterprise software; compared to Windows Live Messenger and later Skype, they have a different feature set that is targeted toward corporate environments

On 11 November 2014, Microsoft announced that in 2015 Lync would be replaced by Skype for Business. The latest version of the communication software combines features of Lync and the consumer Skype software.[6] There are two user interfaces – organizations can switch their users from the default Skype for Business interface to the Skype for Business (Lync) interface.[7]


Microsoft made Lync 2010 generally available on 25 January 2011.[8] The company had released the previous version, Office Communicator 2007 R2, on 19 March 2009.[9] An even earlier version, "Office Communicator 2007" was released to production on 28 July 2007 and launched on 27 October 2007.[10] The full-featured desktop version of the client requires Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or newer.[11]

Microsoft Lync 2010 was released for the Windows Phone, Android, and iOS platforms in Dec 2011.[12]

Lync and Lync Server 2013 were released in 2012.

On 11 November 2014, Microsoft announced that Lync would be replaced by Skype for Business in 2015, which would combine features of Lync and the consumer Skype software.[6] In April 2015 Microsoft officially launched Skype for Business.[13]

On 22 September 2015, Skype for Business 2016 was released along side Office 2016.


Microsoft Lync 2013

Basic features of Skype for Business include:

Advanced features relate to integration with other Microsoft software:

  • availability of contacts based on Microsoft Outlook contacts stored in a Microsoft Exchange Server
  • users can retrieve contact lists from a local directory service such as Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office can show if other people are working on the same document[14]
  • all communication between the clients takes place through a Microsoft Lync Server. This makes communications more secure, as messages do not need to leave the corporate intranet, unlike with the Internet-based Windows Live Messenger. The server can be set to relay messages to other instant messaging networks, avoiding installation of extra software at the client side.
  • a number of client types are available for Microsoft Lync, including mobile clients.
  • uses SIP as the basis for its client communication protocol[15]
  • offers support for TLS and SRTP to encrypt and secure signaling and media traffic
  • allows sharing files.

Note: With the release of Lync Server 2013 in October 2012, a new collaboration feature "Persistent Group Chat" which allows multi-party chat with preservation of content between chat sessions was introduced. However, only the native Windows OS client and no other platform supports this feature at this time.[16]

The main new features of this[which?] version are the addition of real-time multi-client collaborative software capabilities, (which allow teams of people to see and simultaneously work on the same documents and communications session). Lync implements these features as follows:

  • collaboration through Whiteboard documents, where the participants have freedom to share text, drawing and graphical annotations.
  • collaboration through PowerPoint documents, where the participants can control and see presentations, as well as allow everybody to add text, drawing and graphical annotations.
  • polling lists, where Presenters can organize polls and all participants can vote and see results.
  • desktop sharing, usually by allowing participants to see and collaborate on a Windows screen
  • Windows applications sharing, by allowing participants to see and collaborate on a specific application.

All collaboration sessions get automatically defined as conferences, where clients can invite more contacts. Conference initiators (usually called "organizers") can either promote participants to act as presenters or demote them to act as attendees. They can also define some basic policies about what presenters and attendees can see and do. Deeper details of policy permissions are defined at server level.

Following Microsoft's acquisition of Skype in May 2011, the company has deployed the technology within Lync, as well as its Windows Live Messenger and Xbox Live services.[citation needed]


Lync uses a number of extensions to the SIP/SIMPLE instant-messaging protocol for some features. As with most instant-messaging platforms, non-Microsoft instant-messaging clients[17] that have not implemented these publicly available extensions[15] may not work correctly or have complete functionality. Lync supports federated presence and IM to other popular instant message services such as AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and any service using the XMPP protocol. Text instant-messaging in a web browser is available via Lync integration within Exchange Outlook Web App.

Although other IM protocols such as AIM and Yahoo! do have wider support by third-party clients, these protocols have been largely reverse-engineered by outside developers. Microsoft does offer details of its extensions on MSDN and provides an API kit to help developers build platforms that can interoperate with Lync Server and clients.[18]

Microsoft is expected[by whom?] to add the ability to page other nodes: its absence has held up deployment in some educational environments as current PBX phone systems have this capability and need to retain it, whilst adding the other new functionality.

Mobile apps[edit]

Microsoft released three editions of Microsoft Communicator for mobile phones, dubbed Microsoft Communicator Mobile.[19] There were three editions of this product: Communicator Mobile for Windows Mobile,[20] Communicator Mobile for Java[21] and Communicator Mobile for Nokia[22]

Microsoft Communicator Mobile for Nokia was released on 4 May 2010. This version of Microsoft Communicator is made for S60 software platform 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2[22] and is initially made available for Nokia E72 and Nokia E52. This application is available from Nokia Ovi Store.[23][24] With the launch of Nokia E7-00, a supported Microsoft Communicator Mobile for Nokia 2.0 has made into Symbian^3 operating system & it's available for download at Nokia Ovi Store.

Microsoft has also released a Lync client for Windows Phone[25] and Android. A Lync client for the iPhone and iPad was released on 21 December 2011. This requires running iOS 4.3 or later.[25]

See also[edit]

Similar discontinued Microsoft products


  1. ^ a b "Download details: Microsoft Lync 2010 Trial (32 Bit)". Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft Corporation. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Download details: Microsoft Lync 2010 Trial (64 Bit)". Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft Corporation. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "System Requirements for Lync for Mac 2011". TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Announcing Communicator for Mac". Office for Mac blog. Microsoft Corporation. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2010. Communicator for Mac will be available to organizations that use the Office Communications Server. These enterprises, companies and education organizations will provide Communicator for Mac to their users as part of Office 2011. (Communicator for Mac will be available to volume licensing customers only.) 
  5. ^ "Business Grade Instant Messaging and Presence - Microsoft Lync". Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  6. ^ a b Pall, Gurdeep (11 November 2014). "Introducing Skype for Business". Office Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Switching between the Skype for Business and the Lync client user interfaces". Microsoft. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Microsoft Lync 2010 Life-cycle Information". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  9. ^ "Microsoft Communicator 2007 Life-cycle Info". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  10. ^ "Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 Releases to Manufacturing". Lync Team Blog. Microsoft Corporation. 28 July 2007. 
  11. ^ "Download details: Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 Trial Download". Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Microsoft Lync 2010 released for iOS platform". 20 Dec 2011. 
  13. ^ Hernandez, Pedro (14 April 2015). "Microsoft Launches Skype for Business.". eWeek. 
  14. ^ "Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 product overview". Microsoft Office. Microsoft. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  15. ^ a b "Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 Protocol Documents". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  16. ^ "Client comparison tables for Lync Server 2013". Microsoft TechNet. 
  17. ^ "Pidgin project trouble ticket describing problems with Microsoft's SIP/Simple Implementation". Pidgin. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  18. ^ "Lync 2010 API Concepts". 
  19. ^ Urban, Eric (3 August 2009). "Microsoft Communicator Mobile". Windows Phone Blog. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  20. ^ "Communicator Mobile for Windows Mobile". Microsoft TechNet. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  21. ^ "Communicator Mobile for Java". Microsoft TechNet. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Communicator Mobile for Nokia". Microsoft TechNet. Microsoft Corporation. 3 May 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011. Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile for Nokia 1.0 is a new messaging client that is built on the Nokia S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 (S60 3.2.3). 
  23. ^ "Microsoft Communicator Mobile for Nokia Debuts". Microsoft News Center. Redmond, Washington, United States: Microsoft Corporation. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  24. ^ King, Rachel (6 May 2010). "Microsoft and Nokia co-launch Microsoft Communicator Mobile". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  25. ^ a b "Official Lync 2013 App for Windows Phone". 1800PocketPC. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 

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