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Microsoft Office Communicator

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Microsoft Office Communicator

Not to be confused with Microsoft Lync Server, LINQ, or Lynx (disambiguation).
Microsoft Lync
Stable release 2013 (15.0.4420.1017) / 2 October 2012; 21 months ago (2012-10-02)
Operating system Microsoft Windows,[1] Windows Phone, Android, iPhone and iPad running iOS 4.3 or later, and Symbian[2]
Platform IA-32 and x86-64
Size 53 MB[1] – 55 MB[3]
Type Instant Messaging and Collaborative software
License Trialware[1][3]
Lync for Mac
Stable release 2011
Operating system Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later[4][5][6]
Type Instant Messaging and Collaborative software
License Proprietary commercial software (Volume licensing only)[7]

Microsoft Lync (formerly Microsoft Office Communicator) and Microsoft Lync for Mac are instant messaging clients used with Microsoft Lync Server or Lync Online available with Microsoft Office 365 and Live@Edu.[8] They are replacements for Windows Messenger which was used with Microsoft Exchange Server.

Both Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Lync for Mac are enterprise software; unlike Windows Live Messenger, they have a different feature set that is targeted toward corporate environments.


Microsoft Lync 2010 was made generally available on 25 January 2011.[9] The previous version was Office Communicator 2007 R2, released on 19 March 2009.[10] An even earlier version, "Office Communicator 2007" was released to manufacturing on 28 July 2007 and launched on 27 October 2007.[11] The full-featured desktop version of the client requires Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or newer.[12]

Microsoft Lync 2010 was released for the Windows Phone, Android, and iOS platforms in Dec 2011.[13]


Basic features include instant messaging, Voice Over IP, and video conferencing inside the client software. Advanced features are related to integration with other Microsoft software:

  • Availability of contacts is based on Microsoft Outlook contacts stored in a Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Contact lists can be retrieved from a local directory service, like Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office can show if other people are working on the same document[14]
  • All communication between the clients is done through a Microsoft Lync Server. This makes communications more secure, as messages do not need to leave the corporate intranet, unlike with the Internet based Windows Live Messenger. The server can be set to relay messages to other instant messaging networks, avoiding installation of extra software at the client side.
  • A number of client types are available for Microsoft Lync, including mobile clients.
  • Uses SIP as the basis for its client communication protocol[15]
  • Offers support for TLS and SRTP to encrypt and secure signaling and media traffic.
  • Allows sharing files.

The main new features of this version are the addition of real-time multi-client collaborative software capabilities, (which allow teams of people to see and simultaneously work on the same documents and communications session). These features are implemented as follows:

  • Collaboration through Whiteboard documents, where the participants have freedom to share text, drawing and graphical annotations.
  • Collaboration through Power Point documents, where the participants can control and see presentations, as well as allow everybody to add text, drawing and graphical annotations.
  • Polling lists, where Presenters can organize polls and all participants can vote and see results.
  • Desktop sharing, usually by allowing participants to see and collaborate on your windows screen.
  • Windows applications sharing, by allowing participants to see and collaborate on a specific application.

All collaboration sessions get automatically defined as conferences, where clients can invite more contacts. Conference initiators (usually called organizers) can either promote participants to act as presenters or demote them to act as attendees. They can also define some basic policies about what presenters and attendees are able to see and do. Deeper details of policy permissions are defined at server level.

Following Microsoft's acquisition of Skype in May 2011, the company plans to deploy the VoIP technology within Lync, as well as its Windows Live Messenger and Xbox Live services.


Lync uses a number of extensions to the SIP/SIMPLE instant messaging protocol for some features. As is the case with most instant messaging platforms, non-Microsoft instant messaging clients[16] that have not implemented these publicly available extensions[15] may not work correctly or have complete functionality. Lync supports federated presence and IM to other popular instant message services such as AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and any service using the XMPP protocol. Text instant messaging in a web browser is available via Lync integration within Exchange Outlook Web App.

Although other IM protocols such as AIM and Yahoo! do have wider support by third-party clients, these protocols have been largely reverse engineered by outside developers. Microsoft does offer details of its extensions on MSDN and provides an API kit to help developers build platforms that can interoperate with Lync Server and clients.[17]

Microsoft is expected to add the ability to page other nodes: its absence has held up deployment in some educational environments as current PBX phone systems have this capability and need to retain it, whilst adding the other new functionality.


  • Lync does not save conversation history if Microsoft Exchange Server is not installed.
  • Message length is restricted; 800 characters for the initial message, and 8,000 characters per additional message in the same session.
  • No integrated spell check
  • Limited Lync Client feature restriction and filtering
  • Sort by Availability function issues

Microsoft Communicator Mobile

Microsoft has released three editions of Microsoft Communicator for mobile phones, dubbed Microsoft Communicator Mobile.[18] There are three editions of this products: Communicator Mobile for Windows Mobile,[19] Communicator Mobile for Java[20] and Communicator Mobile for Nokia[21]

Microsoft Communicator Mobile for Nokia was released on 4 May 2010. This version of Microsoft Communicator is made for S60 software platform 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2[21] and is initially made available for Nokia E72 and Nokia E52. This application is available from Nokia Ovi Store.[22][23] With the launch of Nokia E7-00, a supported Microsoft Communicator Mobile for Nokia 2.0 has made into Symbian^3 operating system & it's available for download at Nokia Ovi Store.

Microsoft has also released a Lync client for the Windows Phone [2] and Android. A Lync client for the iPhone and iPad was released on 21 December 2011. This requires running iOS 4.3 or later.[2]

See also

Similar products


External links

  • Microsoft Lync at Microsoft Office website.
  • Lync Support at Microsoft Office website.
  • Lync for Mac Deployment Guide. Office for Mac 2011: Help and How To.
  • Lync for Mac Help. Office for Mac 2011: Help and How To.
  • Lync for Mobile. Lync for Mobile.
  • Tips, Tricks, and Insight into Microsoft Lync.
  • FAQ and Tutorials for Lync 2010. FAQ and tutorials for Lync 2010.

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