Microsoft’s Lync Online: ?

Microsoft will be launching the Microsoft-hosted version of its Lync unified-communications server, known as Lync Online, alongside the rest of Office 365 this summer.
At the Microsoft TechEd 2011 show, company officials got more granular about what users should expect when, in terms of Lync Online features and functionality.

The on-premises version of Lync includes enterprise instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, support for presence and voice-over-IP (VOIP).

Microsoft has been touting the souped-up VOIP capabilities of Lync Server, such as its integration with e-mail, calendaring, IM and conferencing, calling that integrated functionality “enterprise voice.” Microsoft will be launching the Microsoft-hosted version of Lync as part of Office 365 — the successor to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). Office 365 is Microsoft’s Google Apps competitor, consisting of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online — slated to launch in early June, last I heard.

At TechEd last week, Microsoft said there will be a Windows Phone 7 Lync mobile client available around the time that Microsoft’s “Mango” Windows Phone operating system update hits, which many of us Microsoft watchers are expecting to be later this fall. That client will offer business instant-messaging and presence support. But Microsoft officials are not promising — at least not at this point — that it will offer audio/video conferencing or enterprise voice.

Microsoft execs also conceded at TechEd that Lync Online will not support voice until some time after Office 365 launches. And enterprise voice? “Not supported” with no timeframe as to when/if it ever will be, according to this slide from a Microsoft presentation during the conference:


So what can Lync Online users expect, functionality-wise, once voice support is added to the service? According to this slide:

Users will be able to make/receive calls to any number, set incoming calls to ring on one’s mobile number and more.

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