Release the Lync!


“Release the Kraken!” exclaimed Zeus in Clash of the Titans. The people of Argos angered the gods and needed to sacrifice Andromeda to Kraken or face annihilation.

With Microsoft’s release of the eagerly anticipated Lync it is looking to be a clash of the UC titans indeed. Cisco and Avaya are certainly not thrilled. Their UC solutions may sit in many enterprises, but most of the workers probably spend more time in Outlook, Word, and Excel than on the desk phone (ugh) or softphone.

Microsoft is the slow giant that doesn’t die — it just trips and fumbles, but always gets back up. Windows is still around. Internet Explorer is still around. Office is still around. Windows Mobile rose from the ashes as Windows Phone 7. OCS evolved into Lync.

The Redmond Giant has enormous resources to leverage. People, money, brand recognition, etc. Just imagine the outcome of bundling Lync with another MS product…

There’s no shortage of partners jumping onto the Lync bandwagon: Aspect (of course), Interactive Intelligence, and even Dialogic. The list is way longer — trust me.

Lync will be pushed very aggressively by the company. The ultimate goal is to convince you to ditch that PBX and replace it with Lync instead. No need for telecom staff. It’s just another server to be administered by the IT guy. And it’ll work seamlessly with your existing Office products. Promise.

A roundup of reports are mostly giving Lync 2010 a thumbs up. You can find them using Google.

…speaking of Google. Didn’t it have plans to invade the enterprise UC&C market?

Count on it. The clash of the titans is between Microsoft and Big G. Forget that I had mentioned Cisco and Avaya. (For some reason they are too fixated on video tablets…)

(Press) release the Lync:

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 17, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the general availability of Microsoft Lync, the next generation of communications that connects people in new ways. Starting today, anyone can download a free trial version of Lync at http://www.lync.com, and business customers can purchase Lync beginning Dec. 1.

Lync is a single platform that integrates instant messaging, presence, audio, video, webconferencing and voice to bring people together in the ways they communicate best, with one interface that works with the applications businesses know and use today, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange.

“Lync delivers on our vision to unify all of the modes of modern business communication, giving people a more collaborative, ‘in person’ experience with features like HD video, conference recording, and social features like status updates and activity feeds,” said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Lync & Speech Group. “In addition to transforming how people communicate, IT departments are also looking to Lync to evolve their infrastructure and enhance or eliminate their traditional PBX systems, saving money and saving time.”

Customers including The Estee Lauder Companies Inc., Nikon Corp., Marquette University, France Telecom and Herrenknecht AG are deploying Lync 2010 to change the way they communicate, and transforming their businesses while saving money.

Nikon, for example, uses Lync with SharePoint and Exchange to increase the company’s employee productivity. To date, Nikon has experienced a 30 percent increase in productivity in some areas.

“We want to move away from relying on a specific communication tool, like e-mail,” said Michiko Noborisaka, general manager of Information System Planning Department at Nikon Corp. “We need capabilities that free people from the constraints of time and place. Our employees should be able to choose the best communications tools for each scenario they face.”

Microsoft recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact study that found that for a composite organization Lync 2010 offers a risk-adjusted ROI of 337 percent, including $6.35 million in hard cost savings over three years, with a payback period of 12 months.

Choice and Value With Partner Solutions

Today, more than 70 new devices optimized for Lync, including a variety of IP phones, headsets, speakerphones and webcams, are being announced by Polycom Inc., Aastra Technologies Ltd. and other device partners.

Polycom is announcing the industry’s first telepresence solution designed to interoperate with Lync, through the Polycom HDX Series and Polycom UC Intelligent Core. Both solutions enable individuals and groups to collaborate naturally and effortlessly across any distance.

“Through our commitment with Microsoft to deliver flexible standards-based solutions, Polycom is transforming business communications with the most comprehensive and intuitive communications experience that will deliver high-definition video, voice and content-sharing capabilities to conference rooms, classrooms and meeting spaces across the enterprise,” said Andy Miller, Polycom president and CEO.

In addition, more than 30 partners are launching applications on the Lync platform for public and private organizations of all types and sizes. Solutions include contact centers, call recording, accounting, performance monitoring services and new applications that embed communications within business processes. Partners include Aspect Software Inc., Convergent Media Systems Corp., ProtonMedia Inc. and Wortell.

Finally, several partners, such as British Telecom (BT), Dell, Dimension Data, HP and Verizon Business are offering services to help customers evaluate, deploy and manage their Lync infrastructure.

Product Availability

Microsoft Lync 2010 and Microsoft Lync Server 2010 will be available for businesses of all sizes to purchase on Dec. 1, 2010. Microsoft Lync Online will be available as part of Office 365, with voice capabilities available in 2011. Lync Online will include instant messaging, presence, audio and video conferencing, and PC-to-PC voice calls.

Microsoft Lync is the new family brand for the products formerly known as Microsoft Communications Server, Microsoft Office Communications Online and Microsoft Office Communicator, and now also includes Microsoft Lync Web App and Microsoft Lync Online. More information about Lync is athttp://www.microsoft.com/lync.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed athttp://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

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