2014
07.17

We wondered what Microsoft would do with Lync and Skype back in 2011 when Microsoft made the surprise acquisition of the Luxembourg company. There was a clear divide. Lync was a bulky on-premises corporate tool with phone system aspirations. Skype was a cloud-based consumer product that offered phone services in addition to voice, video and IM.

Skype went on to kill of Live (MSN) Messenger for IM – and unfortunately Skype’s chat has since not improved itself to keep up with what Messenger was as an IM tool. And Skype has other awful behaviours, particularly if you own multiple devices – such as showing you online when you are not, ringing on one device even though you have answered on another, and so on.

Lync went online (phone system availability is limited by country/partner) as a part of Office 365. And other than that, it’s not really improved much.

We did get an integration, somewhat between the 2 disparate MSFT communications tools; a Skype user can chat with a Lync user.

But in this era when Microsoft says that we are using 1 account and 1 (or many) device to span both work and play, do we really want two chat tools with two very different experiences?

In my opinion, Skype offers a superior experience to Lync. I’ve always found the Lync client and experience to be a bit ropey. How many of us have been in Lync events and spent an age waiting for PowerPoint decks to appear, demos to load, or been asked by moderators to flash status if we can/cannot hear. How many of us have had to restart because Lync audio isn’t working? I never get that with Skype.

And look at where the development investment is going. Skype Translate is a genuinely valuable business feature, enabling people who speak different languages to communicate, albeit with some minor hiccups in the sneak previews.

image Skype Translate in action at WPC 2014

I would be fine with the Lync client going away in favour of Skype. I would do the following:

  • Enable Skype clients to be joined (via policy or sign-up) to a Lync service for control – business still needs control
  • Fix the ringing/status issues of Skype
  • Drop the Lync client as it exists
  • Enable 2 profiles in Skype – work and personal, so a user can opt out of work communications outside of hours
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6 comments so far

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  1. I have used Lync 2010 & 2013 Lync for the last two years cannot disagree more.

    Lync 2013 & VOIP has been GREAT!! Desktop sharing, meetings, conference calls, Demo’s have all worked brilliantly.

    However! This is ENT Work and our Federated Partners only which in our case does not include any over seas clients.

    I am now with a Global Company using WebEx and all I can say is I miss the hell out of Lync 2013… What A Horrible user experience..!

    The results I have had with SKYPE with my personal devices have resulted in battery drain, dropped calls and IMs vanishing as well as Passwords suddenly not syncing.

    MS IM was not fancy but it was solid for my use. I find SKYPE to be nothing but a shiny POS that USED to be a good product.

    So if they go all in with SKYPE sure, just remove the dancing bears and other nonsense.

    Create a solid product that could be used talking to Grandma or in an Ent environment.

    Other wise use SKYPE for Home Use only and keep going with what I think is one of my favorite Microsoft Products and keep making it better. Love Lync 2013!!

    • I could not agree with Tim more!

      Lync Needs a Persistent Chat(a.la. Office 365) like Skype cause there is no way I’m going to deploy that over ad driven client to my corp clients.

      Lync works very well in the PBX connected world provided you get the right Vendor or expert. I can’t really say that about Skype.

  2. Lync has a persistent Chat.

    Skype is to Lync as Windows RT is to Server 2012 R2. Think about it….

    30% growth over the past several quarters, growth rates at double digits every quarter for more than five years, $1 billion revenue run-rate last year.

    Clearly the business world disagrees with Mr. Finn’s assessment of the Lync Enterprise IP Telephony platform. If you’re thinking that Lync and Skype should be discussed in the same context, let me help you with that thought process. stop. do not waste any more precious and apparently finite braincells pontificating such nonsense.

    • Stephen, Lync only has persistent chat if you have your own server , O365 doesn’t support it, yet, (unless you hybrid the solution) it also lacks some dialer functions to make a good enterprise softphone, as we are purchasing a Mitel phone system (primarily for it’s MS integration) to replace our aged NEC it will be interesting to see as we rely more on Lync

  3. Lync as an O365 solution is closer to Skype than its on-premise counterpart. In fact, 365 Voice, whenever they get around to launching the product, will not include any of the Enterprise Voice Features (e.g. response groups, etc) if rumors are true…. When examining Lync on-premise vs. O365, the latter has very little appeal, regardless of the current “lemmings-to-the-sea” Cloud march we’re all on at the moment.

  4. First found this blog and like at a lot.

    There has been a lot of disussion online about the Lync client, in fact about the Lync ecosystem and infrastrucutre.

    From a end-user Point of view I can understand that there are “confusion” and frankly the way integration has been done is not the best fit.. (How the #¤%& can I ask all my Skype friends to share their Microsoft Account login when I just want to add their Contacts to Lync. etc)

    BUT Lync as a (SIP) client has features that Skype will never have. Skype has no Quality of Service, period. That’s why Skype dropps audio/video etc. all the time. Lync can of course not improve a Connection that goes up/down but it can monitor quality and report quality to an admin, that goes all the way to what headset you might be using.

    Lync has real voice, where I can select whatever SIP provider I want (myself I use Enterprise voice at home, replacing my old POTS) – Skype you need to purchase expensive minutes are rates that for most “real” companies are not an option.

    Lync has management with AD, Skype does not, will never have. So every user needs to sign up for Skype (and thats even more complicated now when you need an Microsoft Account) – Lync can be seamless provisioned, with full Signel Sign On, Secure Kerberos auth.

    You can only do peer-2-peer calls in Skype, a feature that suxs big time, A Lync meeting can have 500 ppl in the same room without any extra “licenes”.

    Lync is connected to Exchange, Sharepoint etc. IE. I can search for ppl who knows “sales” In Lync and it will grab that info from Sharepoint. I can have my Unified Exchange mailbox connected so all my Voicemails goes to one single Place (Lync calls or Enterprise voice calls)

    etc. etc..

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