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
Developer(s) Microsoft
Stable release
16.0.4229.1024 / 22 September 2015; 12 months 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
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 (or SfB;[5] formerly Microsoft Office Communicator and Microsoft Lync) and Microsoft Lync for Mac are instant-messaging clients used with Skype for Business Server or with Lync Online (available with Microsoft Office 365).[6] They replace Windows Messenger, which ran 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 different features that target businesses.

On 11 November 2014, Microsoft announced that in 2015, Skype for Business would replace Lync. The latest version of the communication software combines features of Lync and of the consumer software Skype.[7] There are two user interfaces – organizations can switch their users from the default Skype for Business interface to the Skype for Business (Lync) interface.[8]


Microsoft made Lync 2010 generally available on 25 January 2011.[9] The company had released the previous version, Office Communicator 2007 R2, on 19 March 2009.[10] An even earlier version, "Office Communicator 2007" was released to production on 28 July 2007 and launched on 27 October 2007.[11] The full-featured desktop version of the client requires Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or newer.[12]

Microsoft Lync 2010 was released for the Windows Phone, Android, and iOS platforms in Dec 2011.[13]

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.[7] In April 2015 Microsoft officially launched Skype for Business.[14]

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


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[15]
  • 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[16]
  • 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.[17]

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[18] that have not implemented these publicly available extensions[16] 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.[19]

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.


As of 17 April 2016,
These are the clients for Skype for Business (and Lync):

Part of Office 2013 [20]

Lync for Mac 2011 (Update planned summer 2016) [21]

Alternative client by TEL.RED [22]

Linux by TEL.RED[23]

MS app in iTunes app store [24]

Alternative client by TEL.RED [25]

MS app in Google Play [26]

Alternative client by TEL.RED [27]

Windows Phone [28]

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. ^ Caldwell, Lindsey (2015-04-15). "Microsoft launches 'Skype for Business'". SlashGear. Retrieved 2016-06-26. Skype is officially entering the business world with Microsoft's new platform Skype for Business (SfB). 
  6. ^ "Business Grade Instant Messaging and Presence - Microsoft Lync". Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  7. ^ a b Pall, Gurdeep (11 November 2014). "Introducing Skype for Business". Office Blogs. Microsoft. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Switching between the Skype for Business and the Lync client user interfaces". Microsoft. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  9. ^ "Microsoft Lync 2010 Life-cycle Information". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  10. ^ "Microsoft Communicator 2007 Life-cycle Info". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  11. ^ "Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 Releases to Manufacturing". Lync Team Blog. Microsoft Corporation. 28 July 2007. 
  12. ^ "Download details: Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 Trial Download". Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  13. ^ "Microsoft Lync 2010 released for iOS platform". 20 Dec 2011. 
  14. ^ Hernandez, Pedro (14 April 2015). "Microsoft Launches Skype for Business.". eWeek. 
  15. ^ "Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 product overview". Microsoft Office. Microsoft. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  16. ^ a b "Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 Protocol Documents". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  17. ^ "Client comparison tables for Lync Server 2013". Microsoft TechNet. 
  18. ^ "Pidgin project trouble ticket describing problems with Microsoft's SIP/Simple Implementation". Pidgin. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  19. ^ "Lync 2010 API Concepts". 
  20. ^ Brown, Jim (17 April 2016). "Install Skype for Business on your PC". MS Office support. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  21. ^ Brown, Jim (31 December 2015). "Office for Mac 2011 Enterprise". Office Mac. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  22. ^ Brown, Jim (31 December 2015). "Lync for Mac". Lync for Mac. TEL.RED, LLC. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  23. ^ Brown, Jim (22 November 2015). "Lync Linux". Lync Linux. TEL RED. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  24. ^ Brown, Jim (16 November 2015). "Skype for Business (formerly Lync 2013)". iTunes. Apple Inc. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 
  25. ^ Brown, Jim (17 April 2016). "Sky iOS". iTunes. Apple Inc. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  26. ^ Brown, Jim (21 Dec 2015). "Skype for Business for Android". Google Play. Google. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  27. ^ Brown, Jim (17 April 2016). "Sky Android". Google Play. Google. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  28. ^ Brown, Jim (22 November 2015). "Skype for Business". Microsoft Store. Microsoft. Retrieved 22 November 2015. 

External links[edit]