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Skype for Business Mac Preview adds contacts, presence and IM

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We’re pleased to announce the next phase of the Skype for Business Mac Preview, which—on top of the meetings functionality released in April—brings a new set of functionalities to the app.

Let’s take a look at what’s new:

  • Contacts and presence—See whether a contact is offline or online, whether they’re busy, in a meeting or available, and easily start an IM conversation.
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) calling—Call other Skype for Business users directly using voiceover IP.
  • Group video calling—Now you can see up to four meeting participants simultaneously.
  • Conversation history—View a list of previous conversations and restart them at will.

With group video calling, you can talk face-to-face with colleagues no matter where they’re located.

How to get these updates

There has been tremendous interest in the preview, with over 22,000 individuals, representing more than 7,000 organizations, signing up since it opened on April 26. We are now at capacity for the number of preview participants and are no longer accepting registrations. For existing preview participants, the app will automatically check for updates each time it starts.

What’s next

We expect to release the third phase of preview functionality in the summer, including voice features like the ability to dial out to a traditional phone number. And we are still targeting to make the Skype for Business Mac client generally available this fall. In between these moments, we will release minor updates to resolve any issues and address your feedback.

Thanks again for your interest!

—Paul Cannon, senior product marketing manager for the Skype for Business team

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20 comments
  1. All good, but I still need a Lync to create the online meeting in Outlook. 🙁

    • Thank you for your feedback. This is known and expected behavior. As a workaround for Office 365 users, you can use your browser to schedule meetings which allows the adding of a Skype Meeting URL. We anticipate resolving this issue in time for GA – which is currently targeting this fall.

  2. Please Please Please release this Product as soon as possible!

    • Thanks Johan for the feedback and the passion. We are working as fast as possible – balancing speed against quality to get this out the door.

  3. Can I get a preview somehow? I’m desperate because Lync 2011 for Mac just refuses to connect.
    On all other devices I can use Skype for business, but on my working machine I’m cut off 🙁

  4. It looks great – but please please tell me that tabbed IM is on the roadmap. If this version comes out and I have to continue to have 10 windows open for ongoing IM then it is prettier, but still the same problems as Lync.

    -John

    • Good feedback – be sure to give that via the client as well as that is where they draw from. I can tell that they are definitely talking about further UI updates (its not locked of course since we are in preview).

      • I’m going to echo John’s request for tabbed chat. Having multiple windows for chats was the #1 complaint for our organization back when Lync 2010 was rolled out on the Windows side. IMO, having tabbed IMs would put the Mac client on par with the Windows client and allow for less confusion.

  5. My employer is going to go live with Office365 Cloud very soon so I can’t wait to test this out.

  6. Great news. Been waiting for IM to hit the Preview finally. If you’re still stuck without a Preview invite by the way, you can try the new Skype Meetings service instead according to this which is like Skype for Business but free: https://machow2.com/skype-for-business-for-mac/

  7. When do you expect to have this available for additional preview or beta testing? I am evaluating the S4B client against Webex for a possible enterprise deployment, and Macs are a big part of the user base. The current Lync 2011 client for Mac is, shall we say deficient to put it kindly.

    • That is kind of you :-). Right now the program is full – as noted above we have 22k in. If we are not getting the feedback we need, the team will consider reopening the preview.

    • Looking at the same thing right now as Tom. Have found WebEx trial to be exceptionally expensive, significant call cost on top of sizeable licence fees, but robust.

      Only issue we’ve seen with Skype for Business is third party people joining meetings (e.g. customers) trying to join who don’t have the client or permissions to install, the journey is poor and it’s not easily accessible via a broswers only offering.

      But robust, well integrated and PSTN conferencing is a great value add on licence vs WebEx. It’s a no brainier if they can fix the browser only problems.

  8. Will the new skype for business for mac have the ability in group conversations to “call out” an individual within the group to target their alerts in the group conversation? Similar to other chat rooms in other applications? Ex. google chat rooms, flowdock, etc.

  9. Is there any chance more individuals will be able to join the testing phases during 2016?

    I signed up a couple of months ago, but was apparently too late to take part. I work for an Org with 400+ staff and use a an iMac and MacBook. Lync has been trying, and I had hoped to get into the testing program before it closed.

    Any update is appreciated.

  10. help me change this around I cannot access my windows live e-mail what did they do???

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