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Microsoft unveils Skype for Business as its Lync replacement

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Work and home move closer together

In a move that further blurs the boundaries of work and home, Microsoft is rebranding its Lync communications tool to Skype for Business. It’s the latest move from the software giant designed to position its software and services as tools that can help consumers get stuff done across work and home life. Microsoft’s Lync tool is widely used in many enterprises, and its basic feature set won’t change because of the rebranding. The next version of Lync, available in the first half of 2015, will debut as Skype for Business.

Microsoft is tweaking the interface to make it more like Skype, with new icons and the ability to keep an active call visible in a small window when you’re using another application. Skype for Business will also support video calling and the Skype user directory to make it easier to call and Skype users. Effectively, if you’re at work using Lync and you want to video call a family member it will be a whole lot easier with Skype for Business.

Microsoft’s rebranding isn’t exactly surprising. The software company has been slowly integrating Lync and Skype together ever since the acquisition finalized in October 2011, alongside new mobile apps across various platforms.