Microsoft's efforts to tighten up its portfolio of brands continues as the Redmond, Calif., software company prepares to rebrand Lync as "Skype for Business."
It has been roughly three years since Microsoft acquired Skype -- three years of speculation of how Microsoft would proceed given it already owned a similiar tool in Lync.
With Skype boasting 300 million users, Lync will be retooled and amalgamated into the service. Lync will be rebranded Skype for Business during the first half of 2015, says Gurdeep Pall, corporate vice president of Skype and Lync.
Lync's transformation will extend beyond a new name. The application is already benefiting from a client-side overhaul. It'll receive a new server and will enjoy an update in Office 365, according to Pall.
After talking up the enterprise-level security Lync offers organizations, Pall says Skype for Business will push the evolution of workplace communications. Along with facilitating secure communications inside enterprise organizations, users of Skype for Business will finally have the ability to video chat with the Skype network at large -- Lync users could only exchange text and voice with Skype users.
"[Lync is] like tapping someone on the shoulder to say 'let's chat' no matter where you are in the world," says Pall. "Colleagues meet together and make decisions in an instant and IT professionals rest easy knowing their end-users are supported by a secure platform for that they manage and control."
Skype for Business will incorporate several Skype features, further illustrating Microsoft's desire to make the rebranding more functional than cosmetic.
Skype's call monitor feature will be baked into Skype for Business, affording working individuals the ability to navigate between windows while keeping track of active conversations. Transferring calls in Skype for Business has been streamlined from three-step process to requiring a single touch.
Though the rebranding is months away, Pall says Lync Server 2013 and Office 365 users will be able to take advantage of the software's new abilities right now. Lync Server users will need to manually update the software, while Office 365 is being force fed the improvements by Microsoft.
With so many brands -- many of which overlap other services or remind consumers of a bad experience -- Microsoft has been waging an aggressive rebranding campaign.
After acquiring Nokia's handset division back in April, Microsoft recently decided to set aside its right to use the handset maker's name for 10 years. Microsoft's newly released smartphone, the Microsoft Lumia 535, is part of the company's effort to lay to rest the Nokia name the world knows.