Microsoft preps Apple iPhone VoIP, conferencing client

Microsoft is coming out with an iPhone application that lets users participate in conferences mediated by the company's Lync unified communications platform.

The Lync 2010 client application for iPhones -- called iLync -- will be available by the end of the year, and the company has plans to extend it to other consumer platforms, according to the keynote address delivered Wednesday by Microsoft Vice president for business productivity Kirk Koenigsbauer at the Enterprise Connect conference.

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He also says that by year-end the company will have Lync clients for the Android operating system, BlackBerry and Symbian. He also demonstrated Lync connectivity via Xbox during his keynote. "We want to be where the users are," says Koenigsbauer. Lync's client supports the Windows Phone 7 operating system as well.

Also by the end of 2011, Microsoft will incorporate Lync's voice, video, collaboration and conferencing server into its online service offering Office 365. The service will have all the features of Lync Server as it is sold to businesses, he says.

During the talk he introduced Lync Hoster Pack, a bundle of software for service providers that want to sell Lync services. The platform will support multiple customers, and Microsoft will supply reference architectures providers can follow.

All of this fits with a continuing effort by the company to promote adoption of Lync by making it available wherever it can.

During the keynote, Koenigsbauer also interviewed customers implementing Lync, including Revlon and LA Fitness. Publicizing early adopters of Lync was cited by analysts as necessary for Microsoft to earn acceptance from a broader business base that might be skeptical about Lync's ability to replace their current voice and conferencing systems.

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