Microsoft begins rollout of Skype for Business

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Microsoft begins rollout of Skype for Business

Lync to be retired.

Microsoft's April update for Office 2013 is more than just a Patch Tuesday: for some users, it includes the new Skype for Business.

A relatively low-key announcement from Microsoft today signals the beginning of the end for Lync, the Office collaboration tool that has run in parallel with Skype in the three years since Microsoft bought Skype.

Office 365 customers using Lync Online are the first to receive Skype for Business Online in a rollout that will continue through into May. Skype for Business is also now available as a standalone plan.

Customers using Lync Online now with Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Business Premium or Office 2013 will see the Skype for Business client as the default in place of Lync.

The rollout comes only weeks after Microsoft released a technical preview of the Skype for Business client.

The company is providing the ability for administrators to switch between Skype for Business and the traditional Lync user interface "for customers that need a little more time to prepare".

Skype for Business features including presence, instant messaging, voice and video calls, and online meetings.

"It is built right in to Microsoft Office, so initiating chats, calls and meetings is an integrated experience within Office," the company wrote in its announcement.

Microsoft has also provided advice for admins on working with the Skype for Business client.

Admins for current Lync Online or Lync Server customers can control when the updated experience is rolled out to their users, Microsoft said.

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