Microsoft has announced a new "Skype for Business" client that it hopes will entice more enterprise users to its popular communication service.
Skype for Business combines the popularity of Skype with the business-facing features of the unified communications service Lync.
"We are bringing together the familiar experience and user love of Skype with the enterprise security, compliance, and control from Lync," Skype Corporate Vice President Gurdeep Pall wrote on the Skype blog.
Skype for Business will arrive in the first half of 2015 instead of a new version of Lync.
Best of both worlds
Pall said more than 300 million people currently use Skype "for messaging, calling and sharing."
The new service will take advantage of the strengths of both Skype and Lync, he wrote - for example, using Skype's familiar icons and interface, but adding Lync features like easy content sharing and call transferring.
Skype for Business also integrates video calling and the Skype user directory, adding plenty of value over existing versions of Lync.
The Skype for Business release next year will arrive in the form of a new client experience and server release, plus updates to Office 365, and it sounds like existing Lync customers will be able to upgrade fairly painlessly.