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Microsoft Opens Lync for Mac 2011 to Office 365 Users

Subscribers of Microsoft's Office 365 cloud service can now download the Lync for Mac 2011 unified communications solution, which Microsoft broadly released on Wednesday.

Lync for Mac 2011 includes voice, instant messaging, presence and conferencing capabilities, which are enabled through the Outlook for Mac 2011 client. Typically used by enterprise customers, Lync for Mac 2011 is available from Microsoft via its Office for Mac 2011 volume licensing. However, it can also be purchased as a separate product, also via Microsoft's volume licensing.

Microsoft issued a release-to-manufacturing version of Lync for Mac 2011 in September, but it now can be downloaded by Office 365 users who are also licensed to use Lync Online. The download happens through the Office 365 home page, according to Rory Conway, a Microsoft product manager.

"Mac users can download Lync for Mac 2011 by simply clicking Install Lync on the Office 365 home page," Conway explained in a blog post.

Microsoft earlier fixed a problem with Lync for Mac 2011 running on the Mac OS X 10.7.2 ("Lion") operating system. Lync for Mac 2011 tended to shut itself down when running on Lion, but a fix was issued last month. In July, Microsoft issued a fix for a similar crash problem associated with Communicator for Mac 2011 running on Lion.

Communicator for Mac 2011 currently does not work with Lync for Mac 2011, or at least that's what Microsoft explained back in May in a blog post. Communicator for Mac 2011 is the client interface for instant messaging, presence and videoconferencing that's used with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2.

According to Microsoft's setup instructions for using Macs with Office 365, an alternative to using Lync for Mac 2011 is to use the Lync Web App. The Lync Web App is browser based and more limited in terms of features. It supports instant messaging, audio conferencing, screen sharing and PowerPoint presentation viewing.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.