MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED a rebrand of its Lync office communication tool to become Skype for Business.
The company confirmed in a blog post today that the next version of Lync, available in the first half of 2015, will be the first under the new branding.
Gurdeep Pall, corporate vice president of Skype, said: "We’re really excited about how Skype for Business takes advantage of the strengths of both Skype and Lync.
"We're adopting the familiar Skype icons for calling, adding video and ending a call. "We’ve added the call monitor from Skype, which keeps an active call visible in a small window even when a user moves focus to another application."
Other additions for Lync users will be the ability to call anyone in the Skype directory free of charge, along with simplified call transfer functionality and video calling.
The Lync service launched in 2010. Before that it was known as Microsoft Office Communicator and was based on the now defunct Windows Messenger service.
This latest rebrand brings it into line with the company's adoption of the Skype moniker for all its telecoms services.
Microsoft has been keen to play up Skype's possibilities for collaboration. The firm scrapped charges for making group video calls earlier in the year, making the addition of Lync users a logical next step.
System administrators need not panic. The upgrade path is simple and involves only a standard update of the server in the data centre.
Skype recently demonstrated real-time translation, allowing users to make video calls in different languages and yet understand each other perfectly.
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