Microsoft will rebrand Lync, its enterprise communications tool ‘Skype for Business.’ The change will see Lync’s interface harmonized to something close to the current Skype’s interface.
Skype for Business won’t be available until next year. Lync won’t fold into Skype entirely — instead, it will remain a separate application. I saw a demo of an early version of the Skype for Business client last week, and it certainly did appear to be quite similar to how Skype looks now. Users in Skype for Business will able to call regular Skype users from the application.
The branding change will bring the ‘for Business’ moniker to two Microsoft services, Skype for Business along with the currently in-market OneDrive for Business. For reference, Google recently unified the branding of its business applications under a larger ‘Google for Work’ moniker.
Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President in charge of Lync and Skype, recently commented to the media that video is an “interesting modality” that is “quite overlooked.” Presumably, Microsoft would to its business users video chat more frequently.
Why does the change matter? Mostly because Lync has been a quickly growing business segment for Microsoft. It generates more than $1 billion in yearly revenue, and was for a least at one time Microsoft’s “fastest growing business.” Given that Skype and Lync have conjoined their engineering teams, the total revenue firepower that rests under the Skype brand is material.
For the more conservative company, Microsoft will allow the old interface to be used, for at least some time, the company told me.