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Skype for Business (really Lync 2014)?

Its been a while since I've posted anything UC related so I thought I would explain what Skype for business really is.


Skype for Business, formally Lync Server 2013 has a long history of product renames and rebranding. The product was originally an instant messaging (IM) add-on to Exchange Server 2000, and very few organizations had even known about it. I had deployed it back in 2002 as an experiment and it would not work with just any IM client. You had to deploy the Exchange client and even then it would not always work! Soon after my failed IM experiment Microsoft ripped the technology out of Exchange and rebranded it Live Communications Server (LCS). My company at the time had no interest in it. A couple of years later we deployed the second version of this product, Live Communications Server 2005. Microsoft introduced a bunch of new features but it was still a glorified IM Server product with no real purpose. Companies implemented this product because of its federation capabilities (i.e. communicate with other companies). At this time other vendors such as IBM, and Cisco were coming out with their own IM products.
It was not until Microsoft re-branded for a third time before businesses took notice. in 2007 Microsoft announced and released Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007, then later 2007 R2. This was a very significant release for Microsoft since Enterprise Voice features were implemented for the first time. Also there were several IM enhancements such as multi-party IM and enhanced presence (showed additional info if the user was away, online, etc). Shortly after OCS 2007 was released Microsoft made things more complex by introducing OCS 2007 R2. The biggest feature here was SIP trunking which gave the product a lot more control how outbound calls were routed and finally brought the product up to even remotely compete with Avaya or Cisco. Most voice technicians still don’t believe that even the current version of the project handles voice well.
Flash forward two and a half years, Microsoft announces Lync 2010 Server; yet another rebranding. This is the product a lot of companies started to take notice. A lot of my customers at the time wanted to migrate from LCS to Lync, a process that is not for the faint of heart! Lynn 2010 introduced most of the features that competitors already had such as room based video. Microsoft relies heavily on partners to make even this magic happen! A couple of years later Lync 2013 is born and introduces even more features (including Skype integration). My customers really took notice with this one.
Skype for business is born. I’m working on a proper Skype for Business post but Microsoft’s 2011 8.5 billion investment in buying Skype is starting to pay dividends. Clearly the Skype brand is the big winner here since the average person off the street never knew what Lync even was but everyone knows Skype!



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