From unified to universal, the next stage for communications

It’s great to be in Las Vegas today with almost 2,000 customers, partners and industry professionals for the first day of our second annual Lync Conference. This is my first public appearance since taking over responsibility for Microsoft’s communications business, and as someone involved in Lync since its inception, it is awesome to be able to see first-hand the excitement in the room.

When we launched Lync in 2010, we had a vision of using software to unify the various ways that people communicated at work and to make communications easily accessible from Microsoft Office and the other applications people used every day. Today, I look at stories from Lync customers like Telefónica, Cargill, Adventist Healthcare System and others as signs that our vision was right. It is customers believing in our vision that has helped lead to double-digit revenue growth for Lync every quarter for the last five years, enabling Lync to become a $1 billion dollar business and to ship more unified communications voice lines to enterprises than any other technology company in the world.

Unifying communications within the enterprise is a critical first step, but it is not enough. The coming years will bring an even more dramatic transformation as we enable people everywhere to take advantage of rich communications for all the important relationships in their work and personal lives. Consumers that already enjoy Skype will be able to easily reach businesses from the devices and services of their choice, and to take advantage of chat, voice, video and content sharing as they see fit. Professionals will be able to connect in the same ways with co-workers, business partners and customers around the globe, from the applications they use to run their businesses. We call this universal communications and we’ll deliver it by focusing on the following strategies:

· Consistent experience for work and for life. Lync provides a consistent single-client experience for instant messaging, voice, video and meetings, as does Skype. We will bring these experiences even closer over time to make it easier for people to communicate, both at work and in life.

· Context and Application Intelligence. We make communications accessible in the online activities people care about most, including Xbox One, Office,, Bing, SharePoint and others, and will include communications as we help customers harness the potential of the social enterprise with Yammer.

· Across all devices. Lync supports Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and Windows, and last year we delivered updates every quarter on nearly all of these. On mobile, we added voice and video over IP, meeting content viewing, anonymous meeting join, and most recently, speech commands on Windows Phone. Today, we’re showing our Lync app for Android tablets for the first time, which will be available this summer. Skype supports each of these platforms as well, and adds Xbox One and numerous smart TVs.

· Video everywhere. Skype made video calling between consumers everywhere possible, and Lync delivered cost-effective HD video calling and meetings over the Internet for enterprises. Last year, we connected Skype and Lync for audio calling and instant messaging. Customers have already registered more than 10,000 unique domain names to use this service. Today, we’ve taken this a step further by demonstrating video calling between Skype and Lync, making it possible for consumers and businesses everywhere to use video for nearly every conversation. We’re also adding native interoperability between Lync and legacy video teleconference systems, helping customers achieve a continuing return on existing investments.

· Global reach through the cloud. Universal communications not only means delivering rich communications for businesses of all sizes, but also ensuring that anyone on Lync Online can reach anyone else, whether on Skype, Office 365 or the PSTN. In addition, customers can take advantage of the full power of Lync Server in private cloud offers from our global alliance partners, and have the option to purchase Office 365 from AT&T, Vodafone and others who combine their own services with Lync Online.

I’m confident that no other company in the world can connect people like we can. We have fundamentally blurred the lines of communication and continue to innovate and revolutionize how people communicate with one another. I am thrilled to be back and leading the Lync and Skype team and look forward to leading the shift to delivering universal communications to people everywhere.

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