It’s a pretty big day for the Office Communications team here at Microsoft. I’m excited to share that we’ve met a major milestone and are making the release candidate of our ‘wave 14’ communications products available for anyone to download. In addition, there has been much speculation on what the new name for the release would be, so I get to officially announce that here too – the new name is Microsoft Lync.
Let me provide a little more detail on both the release candidate and the new name than you’ll hear in the press release.
First the new name. For those of you who have followed the Office Communications business over the past several releases, you’ll know that this is an important milestone in a journey that started more than five years ago with a vision to transform communications with software. This vision, set out by leaders like Bill Gates, Jeff Raikes and Gurdeep Singh Pall, included bringing together various and “siloed” real-time communications systems and creating new ways for people to connect with each other. Lync 2010 is the release that delivers on this vision by unifying enterprise voice, instant messaging and web, audio and video conference – all within the same user experience and back-end infrastructure, as well connecting people in new ways through things like integrated expect search and interactive contact cards throughout Office.
As we watched Lync 2010 develop into reality, we wanted a new name that reflected the major product transformation. In that sense, Lync – a combination of “link” and “sync” – is about connecting people in new ways, anytime, anywhere. Beyond simplifying and shortening the current branding, customer research found that the name Lync appeals to end users and IT pros, even more than descriptive options like Communicator. If you’ve ever worked on a branding process, you know how personal it can be. Everyone involved has their favorite name (and of course none of them are the same!). So we were pleased that most people in research and internally gravitated toward Lync. We hope you like the name as much as we do.
With the 2010 release, we will use Lync as the ‘family’ brand and within each of our communications products:
|Product||2010 Release||2007 Release|
|Family||Microsoft Lync||Microsoft Office Communications|
|The server||Microsoft Lync Server 2010||Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2|
|The client||Microsoft Lync 2010||Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2|
|The service||Microsoft Lync Online||Microsoft Office Communications Online|
|The web client||Microsoft Lync Web App||Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access|
Now about the release candidate. With nearly 20,000 people inside Microsoft and more than 100 enterprise customers already using the Lync 2010 beta, the R&D team is on track to deliver the product to market before the end of the year. I’ve been using Lync 2010 for about six months now, both in conjunction with a beta IP phone from Polycom, as well as via my laptop on its own (primarily when I’m traveling or at home).
Some of the new ways of communicating that I’ve grown attached to over the last six months include:
Switching between my head-set and laptop or speakerphone, in the middle of a call with device switching.
Selecting multiple people in my contact list and initiating a group call. If I need to add someone else, I can ‘drag’ their name from the list to the call.
Leaving the office and taking my call with me on my mobile phone.
Having Lync test my network connection before I start a video call or meeting.
Going from IM, to voice, to video to app sharing, all within the same client experience.
The R&D team has gathered and incorporated tons of great feedback in the release candidate, including many suggestions from previous releases (check out the new dial-pad in Lync 2010 as just one example). After testing, we essentially freeze the code, and make this near final cut of the software – i.e., the release candidate – available for broader use. As of today, you can download it here, as well as get more information on the release here.
We hope that many of you will take a look and like Lync 2010 as much as the early beta testers have.