Lync FAQs

The New Lync
  • This is our best Lync release ever, with innovation across the board. Lync has always made it easy for people to communicate wherever they are, but we're making it even better with the most recent release including:

    • Multiparty HD video in Lync Meetings, based on the H.264 SVC standard. Lync Meeting participants can now see up to 5 simultaneous live video streams plus meeting content including application, desktop, and PowerPoint sharing. Using H.264 SVC allows us to more easily support a wide range of endpoints and simplifies interoperability with 3rd party video equipment.
    • Modern, mobile, and web clients. Lync takes advantage of the new Windows experience to deliver a seamless, touch-first experience with the new Lync app for Windows 8 & Windows RT. We also enhanced our Windows Phone, iOS, and Android mobile clients and our PC and Mac web app with voice and video over IP.
    • Lync-Skype connectivity allows Lync users to add Skype users to their contacts list see Skype users’ presence and communicate with them via instant messaging and voice and vice versa.
  • Yes.
  • We're rapidly adding capability to Lync Online and making features available to more countries around the world though the two are not yet at parity. Lync Server offers the full set of critical voice features required by enterprises, whereas Lync Online's voice feature set is today better suited to individuals and some small businesses.

    Customers using Lync Online, who also have a requirement for PSTN dial in access to Lync Meetings, must contract the services of an Audio Conferencing Partner whereas Lync Server can support the PSTN dial in and related features set.

    It's also important to keep in mind that not all customers choose to take advantage of our full set of voice features immediately, and that for many customers, the instant messaging, presence, Lync Meetings and peer to peer voice and video features in Lync Online meet and often exceed customer requirements.

  • No. We recommend that customers use Lync Server 2013 to provide enterprise voice services to users, but they still have options that allow them to take advantage of Office 365. In particular:
    • Lync Server interoperates with Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. As a result, customers can operate Lync Server on premises, but still take advantage of the Online versions of Exchange and SharePoint.
    • Lync supports a hybrid configuration in which UC for some users is provided by Lync Server and UC for other users is provided by Lync Online. As a result, customers have the option to provide UC to their enterprise voice users from Lync Server, and to all other users from Lync Online.
  • Lync provides a consistent single-client experience for presence, instant messaging, voice, a great Lync Meeting experience and eliminates the need to use a VPN for encryption when accessing these communications services.

    Lync also delivers a unified communications management experience for the IT organization, bringing together capabilities that other vendors in the communications space deliver as entirely separate products, often acquired via acquisition and integrated on an ad hoc basis or only “integrated” via branding. Unlike these “unified” communications solutions, Lync allows an IT organization to manage all of its real-time communications using a single administration model, a single directory, and a single set of tools. This leads to lower costs for IT organizations to deliver more capabilities to their users.

    Connecting to Skype endpoints from Lync will enable rich communication with hundreds of millions of people from business-grade tools, reduce costs through simplification, and allow IT to take control of Consumerization of IT while giving employees what they want.

    See what differentiates Lync from its competition at Why Microsoft.
Lync and Skype
  • Lync-Skype connectivity includes the ability to add Skype contacts to Lync or Lync contacts to Skype and to communicate via one-on-one Instant Messaging and audio calling.

    Lync-Skype connectivity must be enabled by a Lync administrator for end users to be able to access the features. Lync administrators also have the ability to manage settings and controls of their organization’s federated communications.

  • There are two requirements for Skype users to use all of the features:

    1. Use the updated Skype client (6.3+) available at

    2. Sign-in to Skype with a Microsoft account (which can be associated with an existing Skype ID).

    A Microsoft account (previously called Windows Live ID) is the combination of an email address and a password that you can also use to sign in to services like OneDrive, Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE, and (and previously Hotmail or Messenger). If you use an email address and password to sign in to these or other Microsoft services, you already have a Microsoft account. If you don’t have a Microsoft Account, it’s easy to create one. You can merge your existing Skype account with your Microsoft account for single sign-on across a variety of applications and services.

  • Yes, Skype accelerates the path that Lync is on. With Skype now a part of the Microsoft family, new possibilities open up for extending unified communications scenarios to hundreds of millions of people, making rich experiences universal for business communications. Our first step is enabling federated audio calling and instant messaging between Lync and Skype users. This combination enables Lync customers to take advantage of the global reach of Skype to connect and collaborate with suppliers, customers, and partners while relying on the enterprise richness of Lync. Microsoft Lync is a leader in the unified communications market and delivers communications capabilities in a unified client experience on any device, anywhere—in the cloud, on-premises, or a combination of the two. We continue to see tremendous growth, and will invest in Lync to deliver the controls, manageability, and other enterprise-grade features our customers need.
  • We expect many small business customers will consider and even use both products based on their needs.

    Skype is optimized for organizations of fewer than 25 people and is popular with consumers and small businesses around the world. In addition to calling, seeing, messaging, and sharing, Skype can light up Office presence and contact cards, making it even more useful to the hundreds of millions of people who use Office every day.

    Lync Online is part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of services, and is used by businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to multi-national enterprises. Lync interoperates not only with Office applications, but also with Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and other Office 365 services and can be managed together with the full set of Microsoft productivity offerings.

  • Skype is best for organizations and teams of fewer than 25 or so people.

    Microsoft Lync is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform that offers additional capabilities that are valuable in larger organizations:

    • Lync empowers IT administration flexibility and control via Active Directory and archiving and compliance tools, and it is an extensible platform with documented APIs based on industry-standard technology.
    • Lync offers the resiliency, scalability, and critical features necessary to enhance or replace traditional PBX systems.
    • Lync enables professional online meetings scaling to hundreds of participants.
    • Lync supports everyday productivity with deep integration with Microsoft Office, Exchange, and SharePoint.
    • Lync has the option of running as a hosted service or as an on-premises deployment and has many options for customized support, including Microsoft Services Premier Support.
    Lastly, Lync customers do not need to choose, as they can have all the enterprise richness provided by Lync with the global reach of Skype. With Lync-Skype connectivity, a Lync user can see other’s presence and can IM or call anyone on Skype.
  • Enabling Office users to easily connect to their Skype contacts is a great way to make Office better while making Skype even more useful to the hundreds of millions of people who rely on it every month. Lync continues to be an area of significant investment for Microsoft because it satisfies the full set of enterprise unified communications requirements.
Lync on Mobile devices
  • No competitor matches Lync's client support, which includes the new Windows Store app for Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets and computers including the Microsoft Surface, and no competitor, provides a consistent, single client experience across all devices.

    Lync delivers a better experience (period) – that holds true whether we're talking about mobile phones, tablets, PCs, Macs, or browsers. And the new Lync raises the bar even higher.

    This is why Lync continues to grow double digits and ranks as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications.

  • We updated the Lync client for the iPad earlier this summer to add PowerPoint content sharing, and plan to add voice and video over IP to our Windows Phone, iOS, and Android smartphone clients with this release. Beyond that, we have no additional details to share.

Find out more

For IT Pros
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