Just as Office Communicator morphed into Lync in 2011, Microsoft Lync has now become Skype for Business.

On April 14th, Microsoft released its rebranded Unified Communications (or “Universal Communications”) client for enterprise and SMB customers, introducing several user interface updates. For example, Skype for Business adopts the Skype™ icons for calling, adding video and ending calls, and an active call stays visible in a small window when the user moves focus to a different app so that buttons like Mute remain readily accessible. Desktop Sharing now provides a heads-up display so that you can easily choose which monitor you want to control, and business users can include Skype emoticons in their instant messages; all this while maintaining the security and controls of Lync.

The Skype for Business client works on Lync 2010, Lync Server 2013, Lync Online and Skype for Business Server. Lync Online will transition to Skype for Business Online as Microsoft rolls it out during April and May. And according to Microsoft VP Zig Serafin’s blog post a Skype for Business Cloud Voice Preview will become available in the United States this summer, offering enterprise voice and audio conferencing in Office 365.

Citrix provides the most comprehensive solution in the desktop virtualization market today for optimizing the delivery of Microsoft Lync and we are continuing our collaboration with Microsoft as Skype for Business replaces Lync. Next month at our Synergy conference in Orlando, Florida, I will be speaking on the topic Delivering Lync and other audio-video applications. Interested in the latest developments around optimized delivery of Skype for Business from XenApp and XenDesktop and the Citrix HDX RealTime Optimization Pack for Microsoft Lync? Be sure to attend this session, SYN234, or look for my follow-up blog post on this topic.

Meanwhile, since the current 1.7 release of the Optimization Pack is not fully compatible with the new Skype for Business client, be careful not to allow Windows Update KB2889853 or KB2889923 to automatically replace the Lync 2010 or 2013 client in your virtual desktop images!

Derek Thorslund
Director of Product Management, HDX

Skype for Business is a trademark of Skype and Citrix is not affiliated, sponsored, authorized or otherwise associated by/with the Skype group of companies.