By BJ Haberkorn, Director Lync Product Marketing

We are thrilled to announce the availability of Lync-Skype connectivity for Lync customers around the world.

This marks our first important step in extending Lync’s unified communications capabilities to the hundreds of millions of people who use Skype. This combination enables Lync customers to take advantage of the global reach of Skype to connect and collaborate with suppliers, customers, and partners while relying on the enterprise richness of Lync. This initial set of features includes:

  • Adding Skype contacts to Lync and vice-versa, enabling presence sharing
  • Audio calling and instant messaging between Lync and Skype users
  • Management settings for Lync administrators

The enterprise richness of Lync, now with the global reach of Skype

As Microsoft continues towards the goal of rehumanizing communications from the living room to the boardroom, our approach requires two separate perspectives: end users’ and IT’s. Today’s information workers want familiar technology that enables them to work fluidly and productively across devices and contexts. At the same time, enterprise IT must manage technology for their organizations in ways that meet their full set of requirements, whether concerning support, compliance, cost-effectiveness, or other unique demands.

Microsoft can help enterprises relieve this natural tension by thoughtful product design, such as this combination of Lync and Skype. Lync has been built from the ground up as an enterprise platform for unified communications, and with that comes the richness of capabilities such as administration with Active Directory, archiving and compliance tools, integration with Microsoft Office, extensibility from public APIs based on industry-standard technology, and interoperability with other systems and devices. This has resulted in more than 90 of the Fortune Global 100 having Lync and over five million enterprise users relying on our platform for voice features and functionality instead of a traditional PBX. In parallel, Skype has grown tremendously and now helps more than 300 million people each month stay close whenever they’re apart.

By enabling Lync and Skype to connect to one another, enterprise IT can continue to manage a unified communications infrastructure without constraining the reach of end users. We welcome you to take this first step with us and deploy Lync-Skype connectivity as part of Lync.

What do Lync administrators need to do to get started?

To connect their Lync users with the Skype community, Lync administrators first need to enable Lync-Skype connectivity. Information on how to do this can be found here for Lync Server. For Lync Online, connectivity can be turned on from the Lync admin center within the Office 365 portal. If you already have Windows Live Messenger federation working, no additional steps are necessary to enable Lync-Skype connectivity.

What about end users?

Lync users can connect to Skype from Lync 2010 or Lync 2013, including any of the 2013 mobile clients.

Skype users will need the latest Skype client available from Skype.com. Today, Lync-Skype connectivity is supported from the Windows and Mac desktop clients with more options coming soon as other clients are updated.

Additionally, Skype users must sign in to Skype with a Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID) to communicate with Lync contacts. A Microsoft account is the combination of an email address and a password that you can also use to sign in to services like SkyDrive, Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE, and Outlook.com (and previously Hotmail or Messenger). If you use an email address and password to sign in to these or other services, you already have a Microsoft account. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, it’s easy to create one. You can merge your existing Skype account with your Microsoft account for single sign-on across a variety of applications and services.

Seeing it in action

Lync users add Skype contacts by typing their Skype users’ Microsoft account names into the Add Skype Contact window in Lync. Click the Add a Contact icon > Add a Contact Not in My Organization > Skype, then enter their Skype contact information and click OK.

Skype users add Lync contacts by typing their email addresses into the search bar within Skype and clicking Add to Contacts.

Once the recipient has accepted the add-contact request, presence information is exchanged and updated.

To start an audio call from Lync, make the same clicks as if the contact were a fellow Lync user.

 The experience appears like a Lync call to the Lync user and a Skype call to the Skype user.


Lync call window


Skype call window

And remember, Skype users need to sign in to Skype with a Microsoft account, which can be linked to an existing Skype ID.

Start connecting today!