Thursday, 16 April 2015 09:52

Microsoft Skype for Business to make Redmond a serious UC player Featured

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When Microsoft bought Skype in 2011 for US$8.5 billion many puzzled analysts were scratching their heads because the company already had Windows Live Messenger and its enterprise version Lync, which together had a much larger user base than Skype. However, one key thing the Microsoft messaging products did not have was traditional telephony integration. Enter Skype and, this week, Skype for Business Online.

In launching Skype for Business Online, Microsoft has announced that it will move its estimated 50 million Lync customers across to a platform which will enable the software giant to become a force in the cloud unified communications market.

Skype is already a familiar product to many global users. Millions of Skype users already pay for the ability to make cheap phone calls to both mobiles and fixed line numbers on the PSTN and a number have their own Skype VoIP numbers, which allows them to receive inbound calls from any location. This sort of functionality is not native to Lync for enterprises or Windows Live Messenger for consumers.

Thus, with Skype for Business Online, Microsoft hopes to capture a significant share of the rapidly transforming cloud-hosted enterprise unified communications market from the traditional telecoms providers.

According to Ovum analyst, Brian Riggs, the advent of Skype for Business Online with its cloud PST connectivity and dial-in audio-conferencing capabilities will be a game changer for both Microsoft and its customers.

Riggs goes into a great deal of detail in his research note about why transitioning Skype for Business Online is an astute move for Microsoft. However, what it all boils down to is that the PSTN is still an indispensable global communications network and if you want to be a player in the UC space you have to be wired into it.

Microsoft will be making Skype for Business Online available this month as an update for its Office 365 and Office 2013 clients.

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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