Microsoft released the preview for Skype for Business this week. Skype for Business is the rebranded and slightly updated version of Lync, a core component to Microsoft’s Unified Communications. The preview is available through the Microsoft Evaluation Center.
The technical preview is implemented as an update to Lync 2013, which must be installed before the Skype for Business preview can be installed. This could indicate that the rebranding will be rolled out through Windows Update to update existing clients.
The Skype for Business Client Preview is provided to help IT professionals prepare for adoption and change management of the new user interface. It is an update to the existing MSI install for Office 2013 allowing IT admins to pilot and test the new interface prior to the solution’s general availability.
Skype for Business gets an updated look to fit the Windows 10 and Office 2016 theme that evolves beyond the flat design and looks fresher. Skype for Business keeps the core functionality of Lync while bringing in some of the familiar-to-consumers Skype interface.
Skype for Business in this preview has been stable so far and Microsoft is continuing to make investments and partnerships to increase the robustness of the infrastructure. The preview has demonstrated new animated emoticons and syntax highlighting of PowerShell code.
The Skype for Business client, Skype for Business Server, and the new service in Office 365 will begin rolling out in April.
You can learn about where Microsoft is planning on going with Skype for Business and a number of other related services from this week’s Office blog post.