If you've been in the online space for a while, then you'll be no stranger to Skype, the unified communications platform that appeared circa 2003. Acquired by Microsoft in 2011 for US$8.5 billion, Skype has grown steadily with over 350 million people using the service today on Mac, PC, Linux, game consoles and mobile platforms all over the world. Now, there's a new milestone --- Skype for Business --- a unique fusion of the much-loved features of the Skype we know, and the enterprise-grade features of Microsoft Lync.
The reasoning behind the move is simple. According to Rukmani Subramaniam, chief marketing and operations officer, Microsoft Malaysia, the new younger generation workforce needs the right tools to collaborate, communicate and be productive. A socially networked communications tool like Skype for Business is the right tool for secure information exchange and collaboration.
For the past decade, Microsoft Lync has powered unified communications in the work environment. Likewise, Skype has made the world smaller by connecting millions of users all over the world, everyday.
And now with Skype for Business, enterprises can broadcast meetings to up to 10,000 people real-time, and supports dynamic playback. Being deeply integrated with Microsoft Office, it lets coworkers instantly be productive --- from seeing contacts' online statuses, schedule meetings in Outlook, take notes in OneNote and start conversations from Office apps.
Built for the enterprise, Skype for Business offers security and IT manageability, giving IT professionals peace of mind.
Microsoft's customers have been benefiting from Microsoft's unified communication and collaboration platform for the past decade. An example is Integreon, a global legal outsourcer, who chose British Telecom (BT), a Microsoft partner, to provide a cloud-based Microsoft Lync solution. The solution enables collaboration among its 2,200 associates across the globe, supporting over 250 law firms and multinational.
Another high profile customer benefiting from Lync is Hewlett-Packard (HP). HP uses Lync to power online meetings, involving around 400,000 people, translating to 500,000 minutes of productivity every month.
You can get Skype for Business together with a Microsoft Office 365 subscription or opt for a standalone Skype Online Plan.