Skype for Business client: coming soon for Windows Lync users


Recently, Microsoft released Skype for Business to replace Lync. This new version of Skype is a hybrid of the Lync client that you use here at McGill, and the Skype client you may use at home. IT Services will be deploying the new client to supported McGill faculty & staff users starting on May 13. It will include:

  • Changes to the look and feel. It will look similar to the Lync 2013 client, but with Skype colour schemes, emoticons, and icons for calling, adding video and ending a call.
  • The call monitor from Skype, which keeps an active call visible in a small window even when a user moves focus to another application.
  • Transferring a call in Skype for Business takes only one touch or click instead of three in Skype.
  • If scheduled meetings are missed,  the Outlook Skype for Business plugin now regenerates the meeting, keeping it alive for up to 1 year.
  • Screen sharing frame rates have been improved, making it easier to share your screen, a presentation, etc.

PC users using Office 2013 SP1 may already have received a message that Skype for Business is now available. However, any attempts to download and install it ahead of time will not work, as McGill's Lync 2013 server will not be configured for Skype for Business until we are ready to support it and start the rollout. If you accidentally tried to install the client, don't worry, it will automatically revert to Lync.

IT Services is delaying the launch until the software can be fully tested, and communication and support are in place.

In order to install Skype for Business, Office 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is required. You may need to update your version of Office before Skype for Business can be installed (SP1 is available for free through Windows Updates). If you use a computer managed by IT Services or another IT group at McGill, they will handle the update. Otherwise, contact the IT Service Desk or your IT System Administrator if you need assistance. 

At this time, Mac users will not be affected. Skype for Business should become available in 2016 when Microsoft releases a new version of Office for Mac.

Office 365 users, Microsoft will automatically update the Lync Online service to Skype for Business Online by the end of May.

For more information, see: Skype for Business: What’s new in the client (video). 

As we near the May 13th launch date, we'll provide FAQs, quick start guides, and links to KB articles on using Skype for Business. Stay tuned!