How to connect Lync Online to Skype

Earlier this year I pointed out that Skype was taking over from Live Messenger in Office 365 which ultimately works out best for users who can enjoy a seamless communication experience.

A few days ago Microsoft announced that Lync to Skype connectivity was now active, after having been in beta for a few months. I’ve been using this service during beta and quite enjoy it, however there are some gotchas to be aware of:

– Skype users must merge their accounts with Microsoft accounts, then sign in to Skype using their Microsoft account

– Federation to Skype must be enabled in the Office 365 portal

– Skype users should download the preview client in order to see/list Lync users

– Lync users should have the latest build of the 2010 or 2013 clients – available from the downloads section in the Office 365 portal

Adding a Skype user to Lync is relatively straight forward:

When chatting to them you will see the Skype icon next to their name so you will see the difference:

Part of the challenge I had in getting this to work between my Lync and Skype accounts is that my Skype/Live account uses a vanity domain – so I couldn’t simply add the account with its actual Microsoft account address. The format required when someone use a vanity/custom domain for their Microsoft account is:

Original: user@domain.com

On Lync: user(domain.com)@msn.com

As demonstrated with my Skype account:

The availability of Lync to Skype federation is exciting, as many organisations I speak with are already using Skype for business purposes before switching to Office 365 and Lync Online. This now means that they don’t have to leave those external contacts behind when making the switch.

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