Microsoft links Lync with Skype

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As reported by telecom analyst Dave Michels, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has moved its Lync enterprise unified communications (UC) product to its Skype VoIP division.

"This move aligns the best of our consumer and business solutions and will position Microsoft to continue to redefine how the world communicates at home, at work and on the go," Microsoft told Michels.

This certainly is an intriguing move on the part of the Redmond-based IT giant. The marriage of Lync and Skype makes sense from a UC perspective. Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011 for a staggering $8.5 billion, has been a leader in consumer VoIP, while Lync fully supports SIP trunking for enterprises.

As I noted in my feature article, SIP trunking migration: Enterprise opportunities and challenges, the demand for SIP trunking services among enterprises is exploding. A combined Lync-Skype offering would be a strong player in this market.

I have to agree with Brian Riggs, research director at Current Analysis, who thinks Microsoft might be planning to "completely meld" Lync and Skype together. "There will be a single platform that can be deployed on a server or adopted as a service that delivers varying degrees of UC features to businesses and consumers alike," he predicted.

This really makes the most sense, particularly as BYOD continues to blur the line between consumer and enterprise communications. Certainly, Microsoft has challenges to overcome, particularly combining Lync's enterprise-grade UC products with Skype's cloud-based consumer VoIP service as well as explaining to Lync's service provider partners why Skype is taking away their business.

The future is converged communications services, both in terms of technologies and end users. Combining Lync and Skype is a bold move, but if the challenges can be met and overcome, it will pay off for Microsoft in the end. -Fred