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Microsoft Live Messenger Users: Catch-22 on April 8th?

March 29, 2013

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By now, many have heard or read that Microsoft is folding its Windows Live Messenger, and will begin to merge its existing 100 million Messenger users over to Skype, leveraging its multi-billion dollar acquisition.

As we inch closer to this planned migration, Microsoft LCS, OCS, and Lync users are going to feel like Captain John Yossarian in the movie Catch-22.

Today, Microsoft supports federation from LCS, OCS 2007 (R1 & R2) and Lync 2010 to its Windows Live Messenger (MSN) network via an optional license they call PIC (Public IM Connectivity). As Microsoft winds down Live Messenger and migrates its large flock of users over to Skype, users on Microsoft LCS, OCS, and Lync 2010 won’t be able to use PIC to chat with users on Windows Live Messenger unless they can federate their platforms with Skype.

And here’s the catch: Microsoft is not planning to support Skype federation with LCS, OCS 2007 (R1 & R2) and Lync 2010. Microsoft has stated that federation with Skype “will come as part of an update to Lync 2013.”  In a roadmap Microsoft shared in February at its first Lync Conference in San Diego, they shared that presence, IM, and voice federations won’t be available to Lync users until at least June 2013. Video federation between Lync and Skype will not arrive until at least summer 2014.

This means organizations with LCS, OCS and Lync 2010 will a) lose their PIC federation with Windows Live Messenger, and b) their end-users will not be able to connect with Skype, unless they go through the cost and hassle of first upgrading to Lync 2013. Given an average UC migration is about six to nine months for a typical enterprise, if one hurries up now, one’s end-users may be able to participate in a video call to Skype users in the summer of 2014. Yes, 2014!

Thankfully, unlike Captain Yossarian, Microsoft customers do not have to paddle a raft to Sweden in search of sanity.  NextPlane’s UC Exchange provides presence, IM and voice federation between Skype and Microsoft LCS, OCS 2007 (R1 &R2), Lync 2010, and Lync 2013. Equally important is that UC Exchange also provides Skype federation to companies using other UC platforms (Cisco, IBM, Google, etc.).

NextPlane is the only solution today that can provide continuity of service by providing non-Microsoft UC users the ability to readily federate with Skype — a move not widely expected by Microsoft in the near term.

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