Just one month after releasing a technical preview, Microsoft has announced the availability of the new Skype for Business client and Skype for Business Online, its planned replacement for the Lync communication software.
Skype for Business is part of the April monthly upgrade for Office 2013, while Skype for Business Online is going to be introduced into Office 365. It will eventually replace Lync Online, however, customers who need a little more time to migrate over to Skype for Business Online will have the option to switch from Lync for at least a little while.
As the name suggests, Skype for Business has the look and feel of Skype, with things like IM, voice and video calls, and online meetings. But underneath has the functions of Lync for business users, such as enterprise security, authentication through Active Directory, and call encryption. Also, IT can manage the company’s user accounts and deployments. Skype can even interoperate with a company's PBX systems or legacy video teleconferencing systems.
Skype for Business also brings the simplicity of allowing business users to easily communicate with regular Skype users. Lync to Skype communications was previously doable, but it was not easy. Now that all users are united under Skype, communication will be much simpler.
Because the technical preview was so recent, Microsoft is acknowledging that some testing is still needed, which is also why it's allowing the Online users to switch back and forth. But it expects to complete the rollout by next month.