Skype for Business now officially available

Microsoft has announced the official availability of the new Skype for Business client and Skype for Business Online, only a month after releasing the first product as a technical preview. Rolling out now, Skype for Business is set to quickly replace Lync, with all customers expected to be upgraded by the end of May 2015.

The client is rolling out as part of the April monthly upgrade for Office 2013, while its Online counterpart just started to make its way to Office 365 customers across the globe. However, customers who need "a little more time" to migrate over to Skype for Business Online are given the option to switch between it and Lync.

As the name suggests, Skype for Business takes certain cues from the popular Skype that we are all familiar with. The interface is similar, but, on top of that, there are more Lync-like features and beefed-up enterprise security, and other things that should make life easier for IT departments managing Skype for Business. The IT leads I have talked to are eager to leave Lync in their rear view mirror as quickly as possible.

One of the most important new features that Skype for Business brings to the table is the ability to connect with typical Skype users, allowing businesses to more easily connect with customers across the globe, without going through the usual hoops. This is one of the major pain points I've been told that IT leads want to eliminate.

My colleague Brian Fagioli already went through all the interesting new features introduced by Skype for Business in a previous article. You can check them out by hitting the first link in the opening paragraph. Microsoft doesn't say what other changes users can expect coming from the technical preview, so it's likely that it is only designed to add more reliability to the mix.

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