Skype for Business Preview now available

Microsoft announced a while back that they’d be renaming their web conferencing business solution, Lync to Skype for Business. Many home users are familiar with the Skype brand and...

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Microsoft announced a while back that they’d be renaming their web conferencing business solution, Lync to Skype for Business. Many home users are familiar with the Skype brand and comfortable with calling friends and family. When users head to the office, they often sit in front of Lync a name difference, for what is essentially the same functionality, just with a business focus.

Given the cross-over between our private and professional lives, it’s a nice time for the name change to occur, but more importantly for the full Skype/Lync integration to occur. Today we get our first look at a preview build of this update. After downloading the preview update, you’ll run an installer that is literally an updater to Lync 2013. The installation process updates the application to the new name and delivers some important changes.

In terms of difference between Lync 2013 and the new Skype for Business, here’s what’s new:

  • Updated Interface Grey/Blue interface (sadly doesn’t pickup on Windows theme)
  • New UI animations
  • New round profile pictures
  • File attachments moved to the conversation window.
  • Voice Mail section added to Phone
  • Skype Meetings section added to Options screen

The Skype for Business client will become generally available with the April Office update. It’s expected that Skype for Business will ship with Office 2016. Microsoft have said they will also be releasing Skype for Business on mobile and tablets and we’ll also see a new server release as well as updates to the service in Office 365. Microsoft have a FAQ page to answer most of the questions you’ll have about Skype for Business.

Download the Skype for Business Client Preview in U.S. (only) and Skype for Business Client Preview (outside U.S.)

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