Last Wednesday I posted that we'd released Lync to manufacturing, meaning our code is locked and the product is ready. We received some great questions as a result, so I wanted to address a few of them here.
First, there are still a few more steps before Lync is officially available. As I noted in the blog our worldwide launch event is on the calendar for Wednesday, November 17th, 2010. The final milestone, known as GA or general availability, is December 1st, when existing customers who have maintained their SA (Software Assurance license), as well as new Lync customers, will be able to download Lync Server 2010 from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).
The launch event is when we officially acknowledge and celebrate the release, rather than the day it is made available broadly. Microsoft pricelists are updated on the first of every month, and Lync appears on the December pricelist, which was made public yesterday. Contact your account manager, a Microsoft licensing specialist or one of our partner resellers for assistance if you have questions about how Lync and our volume licensing programs work.
For those who want to download a version of the product prior to General Availability, a 180-Day Evaluation Edition will be available on November 17, 2010 here: http://www.Microsoft.com/Lync. If you want to kick the tires even earlier, the Release Candidate bits are currently available for evaluation, though at this point we'd encourage you to wait for the final release product.
Finally, we also received a few questions about our roadmap for Lync Online. My earlier blog post mentioned that Lync Online would include federated IM and presence with Windows Live Messenger, AOL, Yahoo!, Google and Jabber - as federation with each of these public IM networks is already included in the on premises version of Lync. The initial version of Lync Online will federate with Windows Live Messenger, and in future Lync Online releases, we expect federation with additional networks.
Last week's responses to my post just showed that there is a crowd of people eagerly awaiting the public release of Lync and we are so excited that these final milestones are in the near future. Thanks for your questions and feedback!
Kirk Gregersen, Sr. Director