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Lync MAC Experience + Microsoft Skype for Business MAC Preview

June 20, 2016

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Lync Experience on My Mac

Let me start by saying that I am a huge Mac fan living in a Microsoft world.  I use the Microsoft Lync client on my Mac extensively for all my communications and meetings.  This include all my business phone calls, conference calls, screen share sessions, and video calls.  I am running Office for Mac 2016 versions with the Lync 2011 for Mac with the Feb. 2016 update.

Overall, I am very pleased with the experience and it works well for me.  There are two main limitations that I have encountered. 

The limitations I have discovered and my work arounds:

  1. I am not able to see meetings in the calendar section of the Lync client. I almost always have Outlook open on my computer and can join all meetings from there easily.  Outlook (2016) does allow you all the functionality for creating and scheduling meetings.  Joining meetings from Outlook can be just one click with Firefox as your default browser.   I have been able to make Safari work, but it takes a few more clicks.
  1. Instant Messaging (IM) history in Outlook is hit or miss. There is a conversation history in the client.  However, the history is not a full history that would be available in Outlook conversation history folder.   

I am very excited about the release of the new Microsoft Skype for Business for Mac client.  The new client will be a phased released throughout the year.  I am part of the preview program and have been using the new client for the past few weeks. 

The overall experience is not the greatest.  With that being said, this is the preview phase of the first release.  First off, it is not a full client yet.  It only allows connecting to a Skype meeting.  Contacts, IM and PSTN dialing have not been implemented yet.  I’ve used it quite a bit to join some conferences and it has worked pretty well.  The only issue I’ve had is on some long conferences, I’ve had it drop me a few times but, I was able to quickly rejoin.

Microsoft is promoting the evaluation client UI as a new look and feel.  I find that the UI is near-identical to the standard iOS client.  The client does include Conversation History that shows up under “recent” on the login screen.

New look and feelSkype for Business Mac Client

Maybe yes, maybe no.  According to Microsoft, if you’re a regular user of the commercial version of Skype, then Microsoft Skype for Business Mac will seem very familiar: your photo, presence indicator, and easy to use buttons and icons should make you feel right at home. 

Improved meeting experiences

Easy one-click join feature, full-screen video, and a choice of views make the experience for meetings smoother and easier than ever.

  • One-click join:  Join an online meeting without going through Outlook. Problem solved!
  • Meeting actions: Easily mute, add participants, IM your colleagues, and view the shared desktop. 
  • Video:  Full screen and high-quality video for a better meeting experience.

Only these features are available in this build of Skype for Business for Mac Preview. More features will be added as they become available and we will update you as we test the next phase and new features.  

Ready to learn more?

Schedule your Skype for Business Skype Demo Today