A conversation at work today reminded me that I’d been meaning to knock up a quick post about the new Communicator for Mac client for Microsofts Office Communicator and Lync Server applications. For those not aware, OCS and Lync provide companies with internal instant messaging, conferencing and voice over IP services.
Up until recently Microsoft provided a single Messenger for Mac product that used to enable you to connect to both the MSN public IM network and private Live Communications Server or Office Communication Server systems. With the release of Office 2011 and Lync though all that changed. Now there are two separate products, Messenger for Mac 8 for MSN and a fully fledged Communicator for Mac client that connects to both OCS 2007 R2 and new the newer Lync Server.
Well, when I say fully fledged, it doesn’t quite have all the functionality of the Windows client, but it’s pretty good. It’ll most of what you’ll need it to do day to day. It does most of the main presence, IM and contact stuff, and even now supports OCS conferencing and voice calling. There’s a complete feature comparison here.
Messenger for Mac will continue to be free and available from the MS site, but Communicator for Mac will only be available to volume license customers with OCS or Lync as part of Office 2011. I suspect most organisation with OCS or Lync will probably have some sort of Select or Enterprise agreement so hopefully that won’t be too much of a problem.
What’s it like to use? Well it’s actually pretty good, whilst it doesn’t d everything the Windows version does I’ve yet to come across anything that’s got in my way. It’s handy app to have if your organisation has OCS/Lync as it opens those systems up for use by Mac users. With more companies looking towards supporting Mac’s or implementing some sort of ‘bring your own PC’ scheme this alongside Office 2011 brings Mac’s very close to PC’s in terms of general office apps.
Anyway, if you want to try it out it’ll be on your Volume Licensing website or if you have MSDN it should be there too.