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Communications and collaboration in an information age

Part of the thrill of working for the Office Division is the opportunity to tackle thorny business issues on behalf of our customers while providing them with a road map for the future. That may be why an interesting article caught my attention this week. In it, the author examined some of the investments Microsoft is making in the unified communications space. While I didn’t agree with all of the conclusions it contained, the article certainly underscored the interest in communications and collaboration and how to make people more productive.

Communicating and collaborating with others is really at the heart of what we do every day. Whether at work or at home, people have the need to make meaningful connections with one another. Compounding that need are the realities of the world we live in where instant access to information is expected, friends and coworkers are scattered across geographies and many adults are juggling multiple mobile devices.

At Microsoft, we believe technology isn’t the problem to these complexities, it’s the answer. We’re committed to providing capabilities that help people make sense of it all and to do so in a way that is intuitive, barrier free and agnostic to the devices on which we rely. We’re incredibly proud of the fact that our long term-term vision for communications and collaboration not only marries the best of the cloud and the desktop, it’s a holistic approach that spans from the living room to the boardroom” placing people at the center of everything we do.

Our communication and collaboration vision comes to life utilizing client and cloud assets, including Lync, Skype, Yammer, Outlook and SharePoint. These tools are enabling enterprise social capabilities, HD video conferencing and document collaboration as part of a highly secured, reliable and extensible platform.

At the risk of looking geeky, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Lync and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. More than 90% of the Fortune Global 100 companies are Lync customers. Businesses are choosing Office 365 with Lync Online to better communicate and collaborate across industries from healthcare to the public sector. In addition to its growing popularity, Lync is an important corner stone for the way we think about unified communications and collaboration.

Earlier this year during our Lync Conference we announced that Lync and Skype will connect to deliver IM, presence and voice communication. We believe the advantage in this is enormous. Microsoft Lync customers will be able to connect and collaborate with millions of potential customers, business associates and partners. Better yet, they’ll be able to do so in a single mouse click whether across devices and platforms.

During that time we also revealed Lync Room System which will make it easy to use Lync with conferencing system hardware supplied by partners. The addition of a “join meeting” tile on the touch enabled screen or controller installed in a conference room will be a welcome site for many. This no muss, no fuss approach will streamline how people participate in meetings with video and content.

Understanding the importance of mobile scenarios, we’re pleased to have recently launched Lync 2013 mobile apps for Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android.  The addition of VoIP and video over IP is an important asset in how customers stay connected wherever they are. The added ability for iPad users to view shared desktop and application content in a Lync meeting supports the trends we’re seeing around device proliferation.

As we continue to deliver against our communications and collaboration vision, Office 365, Skype and Yammer will help people to be successful, at home, work and all points in between.