Microsoft has launched a new cross-app integration of Skype and Lync. Users of both platforms can now hold video calls with each other, but they will need to have the latest Skype for Windows desktop client and Lync 2013 in order to enjoy the integrated feature.
The first venture in cross-app integration was achieved in May 2013 when Microsoft allowed Skype and Lync users to send each other instant messages and even share audio calls. After its success, the company said that it would start to add the video calling feature.
Both Skype and Lync deliver the same options when users want to start, stop, resize, and maximize a video. Each video call works pretty much the same as any other call.
"This means Skype and Lync customers can reach even more colleagues, partners and customers, streamlining communications across both work and life," said Elaine Ansell of Skype.
Apart from the new feature, Skype has also announced the launch of a Skype 7.0 update to deliver a smoother and easier experience. With this update, users can now call, scroll and browse through their chat history by using touch. Starting a call is also made faster with just a simple act of tapping.
Users who want to pack in more contacts and chats on their screen can now take advantage of the new compact view feature. There is even an added toggle that displays unread messages. Moreover, users can enjoy a more balanced color scheme.
The cross-app integration is part of Microsoft's move to eventually let Skype takeover Lync. Last month, Microsoft announced that the company plans to change the name of Lync into Skype for Business.
"In the first half of 2015, the next version of Lync will become Skype for Business with a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365," said Gurdeep Pall in a blog post for Skype. "We believe that Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organizations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business."
Users don't need to worry about learning new ways to initiate a video call as Skype for Business will employ the ubiquitous Skype icons for calling, adding video content, and ending a call. Although the software would be more similar to Skype, it doesn't mean that the features found in Lync would have to go away.
The new video calling feature works with the latest version of Lync 2013 on iOS, Android, or Windows. Users must understand that the IM and audio integration functions both on Windows and Mac OS X, while the video call feature on the Skype platform is exclusive to Windows.
"We are committed to delivering the best Skype experience on each individual platform for our more than 300 million connected users," said a Skype spokesperson. "This means launching new features like Lync-Skype video interoperability as soon as it's available on each separate platform."