Microsoft Lync to be rebranded Skype for Business Next Year

Microsoft today announced that next year they will be rebranding their enterprise communications app & service Lync to Skype for Business.  The move shouldn’t be a big surprise for those who follow Microsoft in the enterprise space as there has been rumors floating around this rebranding for sometime.  Skype for Business will bring both intra- and extra-company communication to enterprises and their customers on one common platform and application.

In the first half of 2015, the next version of Lync will become Skype for Business with a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365. We believe that Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organizations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business.

In addition to the platform changes, users can also expect some significant improvements around functionality including simplified one-click telephony (assuming you have the appropriate licensing in place).

Screenshots of the new client were posted on the Skype blog this morning and pointed a unified user experience with the Skype

Skype for Business User Experience

icons and general look and feel being adopted in the upcoming release.  For customers who have Lync on premise, the upgrade will be a normal upgrade without the requirement for any new hardware.  For Office 365 customers, the upgrade happens on the backend and there is no changes that the customer has to make on their end.  They simply get the new client.

It will be interesting to see if Skype for Business is rolled out to Office 365 customers first as it is a more controlled release and would be an advantage for subscribing customers to get the new release and features first.

No firm date was given on the timing of the release other than early 2015.