As of this morning Microsoft has finally released to the public what many people have been asking me for nearly the past year and I myself have only known for a short time but could not yet divulge; the name of the next Communications Server products: Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and Microsoft Lync 2010.
When I was at Microsoft headquarters back in February of this year and saw the first working beta product of this upcoming release I noticed that everything was branded as ‘Communications Server 2010’ yet we were still limited to referring to the product publicly only as ‘Communications Server 14’. Throughout this year many people in the industry assumed this was the worst kept secret, that the next version would simply be CS 2010, but I knew better. Firstly the generic ‘Communications Server’ name is already used by a number of other companies, including Nortel and IBM on other products. Secondly I had a discussion with someone in the product group at Microsoft that same week who hinted that the marketing team was doing some research into creating a completely new name for the product, something analogous to what the Live Search team did for ‘Bing’.
Personally I did cringe at the thought of a new name which sounded as odd as Bing did when it first launched (and still does today, in my opinion). But when I recently learned about the new name for the Communications Server product I started doing some research online and found that there is very little usage of that word thus far, aside from a band, a small software company in Australia, and another small software company in the Netherlands. Aside from that the name is pretty wide-open, which is a nice change from the generic Office Communications Server name which isn’t the easiest to search for specific items online. Even the more popular ‘OCS’ acronym inter-mixes a lot of Twitter posts regarding Officer Candidate School, for example. The use of a simple, unique, and over-arching name for the product seems like a step in the right direction, as peeling the product name away from previous Live and Office product lines will give the product more of a singular personality, akin to what Exchange Server has always had. So hopefully this name sticks for quite a while 🙂
And yet even more important then this announcement is the fact that right now the general public can download a freely available Release Candidate (RC) installation of Lync Server 2010. Because this release is now generally available I can start to post in-depth articles complete with screenshots so keep an eye out for a lot of material coming throughout the remainder of the year.
The current Lync 2010 Release Candidate Client looks pretty much identical to what was shown as the CS 14 beta client back in June at TechEd 2010, with basically the title and application icon getting the ‘Lync’ treatment.