Skype and Microsoft Lync are now connected, and it means those who use the Microsoft communications network can now reach out to a wider audience of Skype users.
Connected, but Not Integrated
Microsoft bought Skype in 2011, and though the app has been available on all the major OSs, it took until now to unite it with the Lync instant messaging client. So it goes with enterprise technology; command and control etc., etc. Although the two systems are finally connected, the integration will continue as Microsoft is referring to this move as simply the first step.
For now, this connection can be established via Skype on Mac and Windows desktop clients only. Sorry, mobile users. It requires a Microsoft ID and Skype account, of course, and the connection is limited to adding Skype contacts to Lync and vice versa, and making audio calls and IMing between the two. No video calls just yet, but that is said to be the next move.
Still, being able to chat with a much larger contact base than before is certainly welcome, and having presence sharing enabled will make it easy to see who is available online at any given moment. For those using Lync to connect with Skype, it can be done from Lync Online, Lync Server 2010 or Lync 2013 using the Lync 2010 or Lync 2013, desktop or mobile clients.
Sign into Skype, Merge Lync Contacts
Once signed into Skype, Lync contacts can be added by using their email addresses. When they accept the contact request, the connection is established and audio calls and IMs can ensue. That Microsoft has taken this long to connect Skype to Lync was all part of the company's plan. Take the Skype video messages feature, for example, Apple and Android products were enabled before Windows products.
It wasn't even until April that Skype became available to Outlook.com users, and even then it only came to beta testers in the UK. We know video calling will be the next feature released, but for Skype mobile users, there has been no timetable set for when the Lync connection will go live.
We also know Microsoft is planning on updating its Windows Phone 8 system with the so called Windows Blue release, but it might not happen until 2014, so there's no way to know for sure which will happen first.