Lync

Microsoft has today released a Lync 2013 app update for Android hardware, enabling tablet support and adding some conversation enhancements. If you're not familiar with the service from Microsoft, Lync is a video, messaging and conferencing platform. Today's announcement is an important step since it shows Microsoft delivering on promises made to further support Google's mobile platform and more form factors.

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Yesterday, Microsoft made Service Pack 1 for Office 2013 available to the public. The package of updates includes content for Access, Excel, InfoPath, Lync, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word. The first Service pack for Project, Visio, and SharePoint was also released separately. Overall, the Office 2013 Service Pack 1 offers a collection of bug fixes, with a few slight use improvements.

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Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype may be seen as a positive move by many users within the ecosystem, as it brings modern communication to Windows, Xbox, and Windows Phone, but not everyone is keen to the idea. Cisco recently challenged Microsoft’s takeover of Skype Technologies. The challenge though, has been thrown out of the European General Court.

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Lync enables workers to stay connected via their mobile phone or supported device. With the app and service, employees can easily initiate conference calls, meetings and keep in touch all within the tightly controlled Microsoft Lync system for enterprise. It's a sweet solution should you require an enterprise communication service for employees.

Microsoft has now released Lync for Windows 8.1 for those who have updated their Windows 8 installations. 

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Lync has been on Windows Phone since around late 2011. As you may or may not know, Microsoft Lync is an instant messaging client that comes with Lync Server and Office 365. It’s used primarily in corporate environments and is therefore considered enterprise software. But we’re sure a handful of you reading this have jobs that rely on Lync from time-to-time, so you’re going to be happy to find out Lync 2013 has just been updated on Windows Phone. Let’s check out what’s new.

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Lync 2013 has been made available for Windows Phone 8 smartphones. The app from Microsoft enables those who have a Lync 2013 account to utilise the service on Windows Phone. Voice and video is supported with instant messaging, conferencing and extra call features to help provide an effective platform for business and enterprise to take advantage of.

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Microsoft is due to demonstrate integration between Skype and Lync next week at its Lync Conference held in San Diego.

Microsoft Lync is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform. A business version of Skype, if you will, that connects people everywhere, on Windows 8 and other devices, as part of their everyday productivity experience.

The integration will give Skype and Lync users that ability to contact each other, launch IM text sessions and communicate via audio calls. The integration should be delivered to customers in June with video conferencing integration coming later.

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Although the Lync 2010 app was MIA yesterday in the Store it evidently was due to the fact that it was getting an update.

Indeed heading to the Store you can now find version 4.3 ready for download. Unfortunately, there is no change log to go with it and since we don’t use Lync ourselves, we can’t do our normal compare and contrast. The app was last updated in March with version 4.1.

But if you’re a Lync fan, you’ll want to go ahead and grab the update here. Notice some changes? Let us know in comments.

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On June 14th, rumors were circulating that Microsoft was poised to buy Yammer, a social-network and messaging service for enterprise, for at least $1 billion dollars. Speculation cooled down a bit as Microsoft intended to focus on the Surface and Windows Phone 8 announcements but a new week is upon us and so the deal is now official.

Microsoft has now purchased Yammer (www.yammer.com) for a massive $1.2 billion in cash and it will be folded into the Microsoft Office Division, led by division President Kurt DelBene. The team will continue to report to current CEO David Sacks to maintain continuity, at least for the near future.

A statement from Microsoft on the acquisition states

“The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love. Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.”

Yammer is only four years old but has nearly 5 million users including employees at 85 percent of the Fortune 500, making it an interesting and strategic purchase. So why the acquisition even though Microsoft has Lync and Sharepoint already? Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet) ruminates that Microsoft "...needed a cooler brand and wanted the cross-platform support" which sounds about right to us.

Here's to hopefully seeing Yammer built into Windows Phone 8.

Full press release after the break...

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The trusty New York Times just ran a nice behind-the-acquisiton piece on Microsoft on Skype discussing how the deal is panning out between the two companies. The article is mostly positive but it does of course address a few shortcomings of the MS-Skype deal that haven't materialized so far.

Windows Phone users are no stranger to the current limitations on the Skype app for Windows Phone, specifically the inability to receive calls or messages in the background. We outlined why such a system can be problematic for the mobile OS in a separate piece though it still doesn't alleviate disappointment for those wanting a richer VOIP experience.

Addressing that criticism, a Skype spokesman told the New York Times that such a shortcoming would be addressed in a future version of the software. While certainly positive sounding it still leaves many questions for us. For instance are we still talking about on Windows Phone 7.x or Windows Phone 8? Is there a distinction between the two development branches? What about devices like the Nokia Lumia 610 who can't run Skype? And of course, when will said update come?

At least from the tone it seems Skype and Microsoft are well aware of the criticism and plan to remedy them sometime in the future.  Some other noteworthy tidbits

  • Skype client for Xbox 360 is not expected this year (though we bet we'll hear more on that next week at E3 in Los Angeles. We'll be there to cover it.)
  • Microsoft will integrate Skype into Lync
  • Nokia is in talks with carriers about ways to bundle Nokia Windows Phones with Skype and "lucrative high-speed data plans"
  • Ballmer is quoted as saying that Skype has not hurt Windows Phone (with the carriers) and that those carriers know "...the future of communications doesn’t look like the present of communications"

From our own conversations with Microsoft and Skype employees, we gather that the big hold up are the technical challenges presented with Skype's infrastructure. In essence, it's a bit of a mess from an engineering perspective and Microsoft-Skype need to walk cautiously when updating and reconfiguring the network.

We'll see more of this partnership pay off in late 2012 and early 2013 as Microsoft rolls out Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 but until then, we're expecting baby-steps. And so should you.

Source: The New York Times

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Lync 2010 app updated for Windows Phone

It's been awhile since we've seen any movement on the Lync front for Windows Phone, so it's nice to see the app get a small update to version 4.1.

The popular enterprise messaging and conference app for the Lync service had been a much anticipated release for Windows Phone and it finally came last December.

Unfortunately, there is no changelog published to detail what, if anything, is new (although more language support is a good bet). If you notice anything different, comment below for the rest of us!

Pick up Lync 2010 for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Eduardo V., for the heads up

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For all of those business folks out there waiting on the Lync Mobile client, your time is here. You can now download the app for the popular communications platform just in time for Monday morning. From the app description:

Lync 2010 for Windows Phone extends the power of Lync to your mobile device – including rich presence, instant messaging, audio conferencing, and calling features from a single, easy-to-use interface.

Key Features:

  • View colleagues’ availability in real time and select the best way to communicate – initiating an instant message (IM), email, or a phone call.
  • Connect to Lync conference calls with a single touch, without requiring long numeric passcodes or conference numbers.
  • Make and receive calls using your Enterprise Voice (Lync ID) number only, so you can connect with others using a single, consistent identity.
  • Lync 2010 for Windows Phone provides transport layer security (TLS) and perimeter/internal network protection without requiring a VPN, so your communications experience is safer no matter where you are or what network you use.

Update: Reader palaudawg let us know that resetting his MS Outlook Office 365 account on his phone resulted in a prompt to download the app--very cool. Head here to the Marketplace now to get it for your phone. Thanks, Alex B., for the tip!

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We know that Lync Mobile for Windows Phone or just 'Lync 2010' is wanted by many, being one of the most anticipated apps this year. In fact, we saw it in action at Nokia World and heard a few weeks ago that its availability was imminent. By allowing workers to stay connected via the mobile phones, employees can now easily initiate conference calls, meetings and keep in touch all within the tightly controlled Microsoft Lync system for enterprise.

So it's a good sign that we've been able to actually see it in the Windows Phone Marketplace but alas, you can't actually download it just yet. Evidently, if you click on a meeting request URL in Internet Explorer 9 on your phone, you get the above dialog screen, asking if you want to download the app. You are then taken to the Marketplace where the app description and screenshots are visible.

In other words, Microsoft has the deep linking already in motion for Lync Mobile, they're just waiting for the go ahead to actually publish. Massive teaser, yes. But at least you know you should have this app well before Christmas.

via: Matt Landis at WindowsPBX; More on Lync Mobile from Microsoft

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Lync, the office communication tool from Microsoft, has been a long time in the making in coming to Windows Phone. We did see it recently at Nokia World, meaning its release was close, but now we have some more info. Evidently, Lync Mobile will be coming in the next 4 weeks, which should also be the time for Skype on Windows Phone. What's more, it also looks to be coming for Android, iOS and even BlackBerry.

The info comes form Gary Holden, a tech enthusiast out of Australia. While that in of itself doesn't qualify for rumor validation, Microsoft Australia re-Tweeted his info, placing a "Confirmed" in front of it, seemingly giving solid credence to the time-frame and multiple platforms. If true, and we believe it is, this is a huge win for Microsoft as Lync can rapidly expand to become the go-to app for inter-office communication.

Thanks, Amir, for the heads up!

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Avanade, business solutions and managed services provider, has sealed a new partnership with Microsoft to develop and release enterprise solutions and services for Windows Phone. The strategic relationship, announced today, will see Avanade collaborate with Microsoft to develop said applications to enhance business productivity and increase the rate of adoption throughout the sector.

Avanade executive vice president, Ian Jordan, has said that the two companies will also be working closely with Accenture, and as additional investment into the platform, Avanade is building "Windows Phone Centers of Excellence" in the United States, Europe, China and India, which will bring foster innovations that address the specific needs of enterprises, mobile operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEM).

"Microsoft’s strength in consumer, enterprise solutions and cloud services positions it well to create a compelling mobile offering to empower a new generation of consumers and organisations. Today’s announcement will stimulate innovation in mobility, leading to new services and solutions to create greater value for mobile customers."

Avanade will also be enabling unique business productivity functionality by integrating Microsoft Dynamics, SharePoint and Lync into the mobile platform. Paul Bryan, senior director of the Windows Phone division at Microsoft, goes onto talk about businesses requesting a new wave of mobile solutions to meet the increasing expectations of both employees and consumers.

All in all, interesting stuff. It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft tackles business and the working sector with Windows Phone (and Windows 8).

Source: iTWire; Thanks, Jason F., for the tip!

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Hey, look at that! Microsoft Lync Mobile was on hand, in beta form, for us to play with on a Nokia 800. The communications app for enterprise was quite snazzy and very fast from  our brief hands on. You get your contacts, IM, email and status updates all from within a very nice Metro app.

No video support in this version but for the basics it looks solid. Look for it as a free download soon in the Marketplace.

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While we're still waiting on Lync to arrive with Mango, hopefully within the next two weeks, we've also found out that Damaka, a mobile unified communications company in Texas, is planning to bring Xync to the platform. Xync is their answer for mobile Lync across a number of platforms including Android, iOS and Symbian.

Matt Landis recently interviewed Ramesh Chaturvedi from Damaka and received the following answer to one of the questions:

Definitely Windows Phone will be targeted. Remember our history with Windows Mobile? We made video on WM6.1 back in 2006 and Windows is important to us. We definitely will target Windows Phone. Up until now the lack of Windows Phone camera API has been the hold up. The camera API should be available to us this month and then we will start work.

Interesting stuff, it will be great to see what Microsoft brings with its offering. We did see a demo at TechEd 2011 in New Zealand of Lync for Windows Phone by Microsoft and found out they were looking to bring the client to other platforms too. Check out the full interview over at Matt's blog (link below).

Source: Matt Landis, via: WPSauce

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