Microsoft's Lync Online: What's coming when

Microsoft's Lync Online: What's coming when

Summary: 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.


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.

Lync is the successor to Microsoft's Online Communications Server product. The on-premises version of Lync includes enterprise instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, support for presence and voice-over-IP (VOIP). (Yes, it does what Skype does -- and a lot more.)

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 this week, Microsoft execs 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:

(click on slide above to enlarge)

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

(click on slide above to enlarge)

Microsoft execs are saying users will be able to make/receive calls to any number, set incoming calls to ring on one's mobile number and more.

Microsoft isn't yet talking about if/when/how Skype will be integrated with Lync, Lync Online, Windows Phone, Windows Live Messenger or any of its other products. Execs have said that Microsoft will have more to say, roadmap-wise, once its Skype acquisition secures regulatory clearance.

Topics: Browser, Collaboration, Microsoft, Networking, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos, Windows, Social Enterprise


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Microsoft's Lync Online: What's coming when

    And yet lync in office 365 beta works fine with voice just now, not enterprise voice but lync to lync / OCS or msn works.
    • RE: Microsoft's Lync Online: What's coming when

      @Jaipo what do you mean by enterprise voice? I use Lync just fine for scheduling dialin conference calls, as well as outbound and inbound calls. All of our old PBX equipment has been removed from all of our offices.
      Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Microsoft's Lync Online: What's coming when

        @faceboo@ Jaipo is talking about Lync Online and you're talking about the on-premise version of Lync.

        Mary-Jo is not right when saying voice will not be supported by Office 365. In fact both voice and video will be supported at GA.

        Enterprise Voice features such as hooking up with PSTN will be supported later. Full PBX replacement will not be supported by Lync Online since you cannot have stuff like Survivable Branch Appliances in the cloud.
    • Hosted Lync with Enterprise Voice

      @ Jaipo The Microsoft Partner Company NetTask GmbH in Germany released already a Hosted Microsoft Lync with all Enterprise Voice Features in the year 2012.

      The Server and Company location is placed in Germany. This is a very important point because the NSA Skandal show us all that Germany is the single country with the correct Privacy policy.

      Please have a look at
      Marco Rutzke
  • Re: Microsoft's Lync Online: What's coming when

    thanks in advance for your help. If all branches and users are using Office365, would u need Survivable Branch Appliances, etc? Thanks
  • RE: Microsoft's Lync Online: What's coming when

    Am I seeing a conflict between the two slides here? The first seems to indicate Voice is not supported in Lync online, the second starts with a bullet point "Make and receive calls to any number" which is the Voice component.
  • My understanding of these slides (which are from MS)

    is -- as I tried to explain above -- that voice support (which is detailed in slide 2) will be fully turned on in Office 365 some time after Office 365 launches. O365 is expected to launch in June or July. The enterprise voice functionality -- according to Microsoft's slide 1 -- is not currently slated to be added at all to Lync Online. Maybe it will be at some point, but it is not on the roadmap right now, according to Microsoft.

    Again -- this isn't me talking. These are Microsoft's own slides from TechEd. If they are incorrect, let me know and I can ask them why their own slides are wrong...

    Thanks. Mary Jo
    Mary Jo Foley
  • MS currently makes no sense

    Its like trying to explain the impossible Mary. MS's story on providing landline and mobile access via Lync Online seems to change everyday. Their Office365 website seems to suggest that Plan E4 provides the landline and mobile access and that UK and US trial begins soon with BT and Verizon. Intercall seem to be also be providing PSTN dial in capabilities.

    MS could do with clariying exactly what they want to offer with Office365 and EV, it is creating unnecessary confusion in the market.
  • QOS

    Enterprise voice offering!!!??? What does Microsoft know about granular troubleshooting options for complex voice issues on the enterprise level... Nothing! Where are their voice engineers for this product?

    It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
  • RE: Microsoft's Lync Online: What's coming when

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