Lync is the next generation of Microsoft’s Office Communications Server, and makes staying in touch with others even easier, more engaging and more intuitive. This single platform that integrates instant messaging, presence, audio, video, web conferencing and voice to bring people together in the ways they communicate best, with one interface that works with the applications businesses know and use today, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange.

Three years ago, the introduction of Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) changed the way people stay connected. An individual’s identity and presence became the center of business communication, thanks to the integration of unified communications across e-mail, voice, instant messaging, audio- and videoconference tasks — and even desktop sharing. People could choose how to manage their conversations, redirect calls, set their level of availability, and decide how and when they could be reached.

Microsoft partners in practically every industry — from consumer goods, healthcare and legal and professional services to public safety and emergency systems — are announcing 70 devices specifically designed for Lync. Hardware products include headsets, webcams, Internet protocol phones, telepresence systems and USB endpoints optimized for Lync, from partners including Polycom, Aastra, Plantronics, Jabra, ClearOne, Logitech and Radvision.

Microsoft Lync Online will be available as part of Microsoft Office 365 next year, for businesses of all sizes. Because Lync’s open platform provides extensive interoperability across a wide variety of operating systems, it is expected that Lync-based solutions will develop across a wide spectrum of personal computing devices, browsers and mobile devices in 2011 and beyond.

More information about Lync is available at http://www.microsoft.com/lync.