Hello again Reddit!

We are from the Skype for Business team at Microsoft. You may remember our product as Microsoft Lync (Lync Server, Lync Online….) and from our last AMA. So yesterday we released the update that brought the Skype for Business client to the world and thought it would be a good time to come back. So hey! Taimoor and Jamie are leading this pack and we’ll probably get a few more folks along the ride. Oh yeah, here’s proof.

Anyway, in case you haven’t heard, Skype for Business is a communications and collaboration platform that brings together the familiar experience of Skype with the security, compliance & control you expect from Microsoft. In short, we help businesses every day communicate better.

It’s been quite a year already. We’ve finished up the product, made a bunch of announcements at Enterprise Connect last month about everything from new video devices to cloud telephony in Office 365. Now that the product is out we’re planning a ton of sessions at Microsoft Ignite where Taimoor and I will also be speaking.

OK, that’s enough. We will be here for the next two hours. Let’s do this!

Edit : Phew! We have to run now Reddit! Thanks for all the questions and all the passion around the work we are doing. We tried to get as many of the questions as possible and will come back when we can. We have to get back to work so we can make this product even better for you. Thanks again and see you next time!

Comments: 656 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

watchtouter146 karma

skype used to be p2p, and was only a few megs, and worked flawlessly. it used to quietly occupy only a tiny amount of screen space, and had only relevant information shown. now it's a gallumphing derigible of a program, using hundreds of megs of ram,with ads, that cannot be made smaller unless i do a bit of hackery. according to wikipedia, microsoft servers were shown to be monitoring skype messages, when they used to be encrypted from end to end. my question for you is, is there anything you guys can't fuck up?

s4bteam22 karma

I think you're referring to Skype Consumer.

We look after Skype for Business (formerly known as Lync) that operates against either on-premises servers or in Office 365. They're completely different products, although we've recently adopted the Skype name because our client now has the look and feel of the Skype consumer client, minus things like Ads obviously.

RichiH122 karma

Two tough ones ;)

1) Given that Skype is a binary blob with a ton of defensive measures against analysis which bypasses most if not all firewalls bouncing traffic around the world, how do you suggest IT departments verify that you are not doing anything bad on the local machine and/or the content?

2) Are there any plans for Skype for Linux more specific than "let it wither and die"?

You seem like nice people and I don't really expect useful answers, but I just had to ask; sorry.

s4bteam7 karma

For your first question, while I think its targeted mainly at Skype, I don't think Skype for Business has the same perception. Whether its on premise or from our cloud, the infrastructure is well understood and we have documented the call and media flows very extensively. I don't think there should be any mystery on how it operates and what control IT departments need to ensure it meets their levels of scrutiny

I cannot comment on Skype for Linux at the moment. I am not aware of their plans to support the community of Linux users.

  • Taimoor

EpicNoob198374 karma

My question is about security. Considering most governments are spying on Skype communications, what is being done to prevent corporate espionage?

s4bteam0 karma

All Communications for Skype for Business are encrypted both within the platform and also to Skype consumer. Security is a big reason why enterprises and public sector companies look to Skype for Business for their communication needs.



How are clientside keys generated, and do you or any government agencies have the ability to obtain those keys from the client?

This article indicates NSA has full access to Skype voice and chat. Is your business service actually secure, unlike your consumer service, or is it the same stuff?

s4bteam5 karma

Can't speak for Skype Consumer. And even if I could, our lead council speaks much better than I ever could - check it

Skype for Business is completely different. We are based on your AD auth & PKI infrastructure. If you trust your domain security, you should trust Skype for Business.

President_Dickbutt7 karma

End to end?

s4bteam3 karma

End to End.

  • Taimoor

s4bteam3 karma

Absolutely. There are a ton of deep technical sessions from our last conference that discuss our encryption, security, how we operate in corporate networks including QoS, DSCP, etc. - check it here


DebianSqueez37 karma

Do you plan on having better linux support in the future?

s4bteam7 karma

This isn't the first time we've heard this feedback, obviously. I've always talked about how we look at the utility of the network as a function of the number of connected endpoints. Pure Metcalf. I really don't care what OS those devices run if they can make Skype for Business a better network - whether it's WebRTC, Android, VDI terminals, etc.

Can't make a specific comment on the plans at this time. If you're a Microsoft customer today, reach out to your account team and ask their Lync / UC savvy person to include your feedback into the "Skype Experience Engine" - our feedback / new feature collection tool. Or hit me up offline.


jasonvelocity26 karma

Easy question: Why can't I ever find download links in any of your press releases and blog entries?

s4bteam13 karma

heh - yeah....I can see how that happens. The process to move bits out to the web as you may imagine has a bunch of steps - we draft the blog post, get it out the door and at the same time Engineering is getting the KB put together and posted through their process. Both are async. So yeah, it's annoying - whenever we can we do include links to the actual KBs. This time around, I ended up tweeting out the KB cause it landed a few hours later. Again, apologies for the hassles - it's honestly not our intent to make stuff like "download here" difficult to find. - Jamie

c016smith17 karma

Can you make it easier for Lync 2013 / Skype for Business server administrators to keep their servers patched and updated?

Right now you have to download 10-15 MSIs and know what services are running, and determine what order to run those patches. Can you create an updater system that scans the topology and just does CU's and brings servers up to the latest patch level automatically? Even if it was just per-server, not the whole topology (I understand a lot of people have complex and hybrid infrastructures, or don't want to update all services simultaneously). Even when doing a major rev change it would be great to run setup.exe and it identifies all the Lync/Skype services you're running on that server, and it will then download and install the appropriate latest patches, including roll-back protection like most of your other software update/in-place-upgrade solutions currently provide.

Here's a basic process Microsoft provides for applying a CU - something that should be just that, a cumulative update. Run, click next,next,next and should be done - maybe reboot, depends. Carry on with your evening activities. :) But as you can see from the contained diagram... not so simple.


Or incorporate that into the WSUS or similar tool for automatic updates? You have started doing this for other products, even including the projected method for the new Windows 10 release through Window Update, and it's a great Idea. It would be very welcome on keeping SPs update to date and especially the new rolling CU's for Lync 2013/Skype for Business, so we can stay up to date with much less effort.

It is appreciated that Microsoft is providing more routine and rapid updates and patches these days. Keep up that great work! It's nice to have bugs fixed within a couple months rather than waiting a year for a massive SP or major release.


s4bteam2 karma

Jamie here.

We got this feedback loud and clear during 2013 and so invested a TON of work on the topic of updates. First, we have in-place upgrades from 2013 to Skype for Business, so you don't have to turn your servers to glass and start over from scratch to get to Skype for Business. Part of that in-place upgrade is that the associated third party products (from OS/SQL to Gateways, RPs, etc.) continue to be supported. So upgrade is sooo much easier. I demoed it during an internal conference (granted, it didn't finish....)

We've also invested a bunch specifically on the update and patching process. We talked about this during the Office 365 Summits - check the deck here .... sorry for the poor copy, didn't have time to search for where it's actually stored.

We will also cover this topic at Ignite


stewpidteenager11 karma

What is your biggest compitetion right now?

s4bteam4 karma

This is Jamie. I find we spend the most time is helping customers figure out good plans to move from what they have today (generally a loosely connected set of point solutions across modalities) to where they want to be (a unified solution providing equivalent functionality across devices) in a business reasonable way. There are a lot of other companies looking at this space, but I really don't see anyone operating at the same level - and when I say that I'm considering things like Surface Hub, Skype Translator, Hybrid deployment models, etc...

iappy16 karma

What are the hot updates we should lookout for in Skype for business in comparison with Lync 2013?

s4bteam4 karma

This is Jamie. The work to bring Lync to Skype for Business was significant - it's not a "Skype-washing" of the client and involved a bunch of work on the interaction model (the state machines that sit behind the UI) and streamlining things like transferring calls and starting video. Then we did a bunch of deep back-end work for supporting things like calling with Skype consumer users signed in with Skype IDs (before we just supported users signing in with MSAs) and doing a search across the Skype user graph that uses search algorithms from Bing.

Of the back-end stuff - call via work is my favorite. Allows customers to give everyone a Skype for Business voice experience even though they keep their PBX phones. We have a whole session devoted to it at Ignite that's being delivered by one of my favorite MVPs. So stoked.

kindersonde5 karma

My company has been using Lync for internal communications for the last six months or so, and it's been absolutely horrendous. Messages often don't get delivered with no indication of delivery failure to the sender, connections drop frequently, highlighting text from chat windows to copy/paste it is a pain, etc. In fact, members of my department have been breaking company policy and using Skype to communicate during business hours, just because getting yelled at by bosses is preferable to dealing with Lync.

Are you aware of these kinds of issues? Is Lync to blame here, or is my company's IT department incompetent and didn't set things up correctly?

s4bteam4 karma

This is not OK. Something is wrong with your deployment. Call a good partner. Please. Ping me directly if you want references - jastark (at) microsoft

GreekGeek875 karma

Will you guys still be incorporating Polycom video conferencing integration into Skype for business? I know you had plans to for Lync.

s4bteam2 karma

No change to the plans here. Plus, check out the announcement we made regarding the Roundtable 100 with Polycom. CEO was onstage with us at Enterprise Connect - that device is smoking hot.


jostler574 karma


Have you fixed the problem with conference meetings where you cannot be logged in twice?

For example: Currently, if I log into a conference meeting on my Surface, I can't simultaneously be logged into the meeting from my laptop. Is this fixed, now, so that I can log in from both?

s4bteam1 karma

Could you tell me a bit more on the use case for this. Specifically, where would you like your Audio/Video/Sharing stream to be. If you do have a reason for both, you can always login using the Web App and use a separate identity for it.

  • Taimoor

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s4bteam2 karma

Formatting of the post did not do us any favors. Proof added to the original post.

ldellinger3 karma

Hello. We're still stuck on OCS 2007 and have been using Lync 2013 UI with it by using DisableServerCheck in the registry. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be working post-upgrade to S4B. Is there a workaround for this?

s4bteam3 karma

This is definitely beyond the limits of our testing....and there's just been an untold number of changes on the wire between then and now. That poor server.

So yeah, I don't think there's a workaround. I mean, you can crack open logs and see where registration is going sideways but I think it's time to upgrade. It's nearly eight years old now.

I remember launching 2007 in SF. I feel old now..... Jamie

s4bteam1 karma

Unfortunately not. There are certain amounts that we can put in our test cases and as we iterate, it gets too complex to support older versions.

Is there something we can do to help you upgrade?

  • Taimoor

BigGwyn3 karma

Another easy question: Did the Skype for Business client get tested before deploying it to the world? In our work environment (Lync Server 2013 On Prem fully CUed) internal calls between the Preview Clients and also the full release do not work!

s4bteam1 karma

Yeah, absolutely. Tons of internal testing, TAP (technology adoption program, run by engineering, with real customers) - I've been doing federated video calls and meetings using the Skype for Business client with partners for months now and never had a media connectivity issue that wasn't explained somehow (network, blowing up our alpha server with a new build, etc.)

umojo2 karma

What was the final build number of the SfB RTM?

s4bteam1 karma

15.0.4711.1002 - Jamie

Rumpmongoliden2 karma

What do you guys do for fun in the office?

s4bteam3 karma

It really depends on the group & the location. Our team does a good job of taking a break every couple weeks for beers in the afternoon. There was karaoke after Enterprise Connect....but hopefully the evidence remains buried in a tightly locked OneDrive.

jbo7962 karma

Can I have a job?

s4bteam3 karma

Id encourage you to look at our career portals and if something interest you. Apply. I still cant believe they hired me!

  • Taimoor

blazedentertainment2 karma

How long do you guys plan to give the option of the old lync? Is there going to be a time that you're going to force skype for business instead of lync?

s4bteam1 karma

Customers can continue to use this version of Skype for Business that has the Lync user experience and remain supported per the standard Microsoft support lifecycle.

But yeah, with future releases, we will just have the Skype for Business user experience.

  • Jamie

SuperiorBigfoot2 karma

How do you feel about the fact that I read Microsoft lync as Microsoft lynch? Is that why the name was changed?

s4bteam1 karma

I don't think it had anything to do with it. But I'm glad you don't have to deal with that anymore.

  • Taimoor

PabloCZ1 karma

Hi, I was waiting for one thing to get fixed in the new UI; however, it's not. Please can yout let someone in the team know about this?:


A Skype user with a custom domain has a Microsoft account (e.g. [email protected]). The user is added as "user(contoso.com)@msn.com" to the Lync contact list. However, his contact info is not properly linked to the contact in Outlook even when he has the "user(contoso.com)@msn.com" set as IM address in Outlook contact list. When you display the user's contact card in Lync, it is empty (no phone number, home address, etc.)


This works fine for normal MSFT accounts (e.g. [email protected]). The contact in Lync is linked to a corresponding contact in Outlook and you can see his email address, phone number, home address, etc. in Lync.

s4bteam1 karma

Hmm. Interesting in problem. I'm taking a note of it. Thanks for reporting.

  • Taimoor

Center67011 karma

Good afternoon I have a few questions, we were just discussing this update in our Sys-Admin meeting this morning. Is there any plan to allow users an option to quick import there current contacts from skype? Rather than one at a time?

Is there a reason that I do not get a consistent view when I have lync running on multiple clients. IE my phone and computer I would love to have the conversation available when I jump from one device to another.

Thank you for your time. Love the improvements.

s4bteam1 karma

Synchronized conversation history across devices is coming in Skype for Business.

At the moment there is no easy way for you to migrate your Skype contacts to Skype for Business.

  • Taimoor

tomppah1 karma

Is there changes in Skype for Business licensing for on-premises vs. Lync Server 2013?

s4bteam2 karma

Nope. Licensing remains the same.
- Jamie

cowpen1 karma

Will the preview client work within an existing Lync Server 2013 infrastructure?

jasonvelocity1 karma


s4bteam1 karma

Confirmed - Thanks Jason! Jamie

cowpen1 karma

Does Skype for Business allow searching for contacts both inside and outside of the Enterprise Exchange org?

s4bteam3 karma

In addition to searching the corporate directory, we have included the Skype Global Directory in the client as well. Not only can you search the Skype directory, but you can do so in context. So if you look for Taimoor, you will probably find a couple dozen of them, but there should only be a few "Taimoor in California" and even fewer in San Francisco :)

umojo1 karma

What is the final build number of the S4B server?

s4bteam1 karma

Not yet, should be out in the next couple weeks.

bluntrollin1 karma

It was announced that Microsoft will start offering Enterprise Voice. When will this be fully operational with porting of numbers, hunt groups, response groups, Auto Attendants, etc?

Will you directly compete with third party hosted Lync providers?

s4bteam2 karma

Indeed, we will be providing voice services through our cloud. This will begin rolling out in the US later this year! A full list of features will be announced soon.

I don't view it as competition necessarily but as an alternative offering. Our partners have the ability to offer value added services on top of their offerings. At the end of the day we believe choice is good for our customers and the industry as a whole.

  • Taimoor

kravitzm1 karma

When might we be able to expect full Skype integration with S4B? Including Skype users being able to join conference calls and group chats?

s4bteam1 karma

Clearly that's next now that we have the graph search and SkypeID support in place with Skype for Business. Precisely how it's going to be done is still a work in progress, as is the timing.

Remember that Skype users can join conferences pretty simply using the Skype for Business Web App (the web app formerly known as LWA...) either as a guest or authenticated user.

s4bteam1 karma

We continue to add features and functionality to our integration with Skype. We started with IM and Presence, Added Audio and now Video. We are working on all the use case scenarios that make sense for the two and will be working on those in the coming future.

  • Taimoor

kravitzm1 karma

Thanks! The most obvious use that I can think of is allowing Skype users to be able to join Skype Meetings (conference calls) and see video and presentation. It will allow external, non-s4b users to collaborate.

s4bteam1 karma

Indeed. Although those users can do that today, using the amazing Lync web app! They can be fully functional participants through a browser.

But we hear you :)

  • Taimoor

sglville1 karma

Are Office 365 enterprise customers going to be able to simply sign into Skype for business and use it to communicate both inside and outside the organization? We are a small organization who uses O365/Sharepoint regularly but Lync was not worth the time needed for us to implement.
TL;DR Is Skype going to be easier than Lync to setup and use?

s4bteam1 karma

You can do this today with Lync online as well. And will certainly be able to do this with Skype for Business.

  • Taimoor

kkieller1 karma

Are we all agreed that Skype4B abbreviation and hashtag are cool but SfB is not cool?

s4bteam1 karma

Agreed. is S4B ok? Give us more suggestions :)

  • Taimoor

s4bteam1 karma

Hey Kevin! Good seeing you here, bummed we missed each other at EC.

And yeah, our social team agrees and thanks you so much.

Hope things are well with you! Jamie

xb0y1 karma

Can i get some vouchers

s4bteam1 karma

Skype for Business doesn't have vouchers I'm afraid!

VaginAquarium1 karma

when will it be able to host more than 250 attendees? this has been a big issue for a long time and the Lync team has been promising this for over 5 years but still nothing. Seems like a company as large as microsoft would like to be able to at least host large attendee counts for its own benefit as well as a selling point for other businesses.

s4bteam2 karma

Lync Server can host conferences of 250 users out of the box, and with 1,000 users with some planning. We have not yet released our full scalability numbers on Skype for Business Server so stay tuned for that.

We will be making some announcements at Ignite in a couple of weeks with some additional details. I would definitely check it out.

  • Taimoor

glutenful1 karma

A few questions:

  1. Why can't I send files through lync in my organization?

  2. Lync SharePoint integration?

  3. Lync maintaining file versions as sent by people with tracking of changes made?

s4bteam1 karma

  1. This is most likely limited by your administrator
  2. Its there. What would you like to see.
  3. That's what SharePoint is there for as a document management platform.
  • Taimoor

KyleGarrett0 karma

Forgive my naivety.

For a small business (O365 E3 customer) that wants to use S4B exclusively for all things voice (like a hosted PBX) - including handsets for those that want them. What is the best way to achieve this?

[Ideally] We simply want to plug-in and go, pay a monthly fee, and have our voice infrastructure taken care of by S4B.

s4bteam2 karma

Great Question. We have recently announced plans to offer Voice capability through our cloud. This means that soon, (in the next few months), you will be able to do just that. Have voice services managed from O365, including DID's and the features you would expect from a telephony platform, for a monthly fee. Bring your own devices (headsets, IP phones, Speakerphones, Meeting room devices etc.) as long as they are Qualified and you are all set.

Service rolls out in the US later this year and to other parts of the world starting next year.

  • Taimoor