Microsoft pushes its way into crowded unified communications market

By , IDG News Service |  Unified Communications, Microsoft Lync

"The productivity doesn't happen because now you have video and IM and presence and you can do video conferencing. The productivity is there because all those things are readily usable by your average worker," he says.

Microsoft Says Lync-Skype Integration Will Bring Business Value

Microsoft is satisfied with its recent improvements in the Lync mobile client applications for iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Windows Phone, and says it will continue enhancing them on a rolling basis, according to B.J. Haberkorn, director of product marketing for Lync at Microsoft.

"We've dramatically improved those clients," he says.

Haberkorn also touts video communications improvements in areas like image quality, device support and management of sessions.

With Lync 2010, Microsoft said it beefed up the product's IP telephony capabilities to the point where enterprises could use it to replace their traditional PBXs, and in Lync 2013 those features were further refined, Haberkorn says.

[ 10 Things We Love About Lync 2010 ]

Microsoft has also focused on providing APIs to application developers and on building partnerships with hardware vendors to port to and integrate their products with Lync.

Looking ahead, Microsoft is working hard on integrating Lync with Skype, its consumer IM, audio/video chat and IP telephony product.

The first phase is completed, allowing Lync and Skype users to add each other to their contact lists, see presence information, exchange text IMs and do audio calls. Video conference and other features will be integrated later.

Elliot calls this Skype integration a potentially transformational improvement for Lync.

[ Untangling Microsoft's Communication and Collaboration Strategy ]

The Lync-Skype pairing can allow Lync customers to connect with their clients, partners and other outside parties who are on Skype, which has hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

"It creates a next-generation dial tone," Elliot says.

It's still early to anticipate all the use cases and ramifications of this Skype-Lync integration, but the potential for real business value is there, he says.

[ Microsoft-Skype Deal: Three Ways It Benefits Enterprises ]

Originally published on IDG News Service |  Click here to read the original story.
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