Microsoft Readies Lync for November Launch

Microsoft’s recently renamed and updated unified communications (UC) solution, Lync Server 2010, reached a key milestone this week, and the company is preparing to hold the official launch event soon.

UC has been a grail for many in the communications industry for a number of years and, certainly, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) can’t be accused of not focusing on the subject repeatedly — without a lot of success until the advent of Office Communications Server (OCS).

Now, its recently rebranded, Lync Server 2010, has reached the last phase before it arrives in customers’ hands. On Wednesday, Lync Server 2010 — previously code-named OCS “14” — Microsoft reached the stage the company calls “release to manufacturing,” or RTM.

The company has also slated an official launch event on Nov. 17 in New York. As with several other recent product events, Microsoft has decided to broadcast the launch event live globally.

“The Lync 2010 release takes collaboration and productivity to the next level by providing a single platform that integrates the various modes of communication necessary for people and businesses to be productive [and] it does this for the end user via a single client experience, and on the back-end with a unified infrastructure and management experience,” said a post on the Unified Communications Group Team blog Wednesday.

Microsoft launched Office Communications Server 2007 just over three years ago. However, its roots go back well over a decade prior to that when industry visionaries predicted that eventually all communications, from e-mail, instant messaging, voice calls and voicemail, and video and audio conferencing, would some day be seamlessly integrated.

One of the important questions to be answered this time around is whether or not all of the stars in the technology universe are in alignment for the vision of unified communications to be finally fulfilled.

A recent survey of IT decision makers hints that may finally be the case. The survey found that 30 percent of respondents plan to deploy Lync Server 2010 within a year of its release.

Lync will also be included in the latest rev of Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform — the Business Productivity Online Suite, or BPOS — and into the just-announced Office 365, subscription services.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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