Microsoft is getting serious with the Mac today with its new Skype for Business preview for OS X. The new business-focused version of Skype for Mac runs on OS X El Capitan and focuses on creating an enterprise-friendly experience. IT professionals can request access to the new Skype for Business Mac Preview starting today.
In addition to taking preview requests from commercial clients, Microsoft says it will begin seeding Skype for Business Mac Preview to IT administrators before opening the preview to more users.
Microsoft plans to roll out the Skype for Business Mac client in three stages, starting with today’s release which includes Outlook calendar integration for viewing and joining meetings right from Skype, then two additional versions before public availability:
We’ll be adding instant messaging, presence and the contacts list in the next preview release coming in early summer, and telephony in late summer.
New invitations will be issued daily over the next few weeks until all organizations wanting to participate have access, and testers will also be able to submit feedback during the preview period at skypefeedback.com.
Skype for Business differs from the standard version of the communication app as it allows for up to 250 people on a call versus the 25 person limit on standard Skype. Outlook integration, enterprise-grade security, and the ability to manage employee accounts also set it apart. Standalone Skype for Business plans run $2.00/month per user with more packages available as well.
Skype for Business Mac Preview joins the other client already available on an Apple platform, Skype for Business on iPhone and iPad.
Full release notes below:
Skype for Business on Mac Preview Release
This release will ONLY support the listed MEETING functionality, all additional functionality (e.g., Contact list, non-meeting IMs, non-meeting voice calls, etc.) will come in future releases.
April 26, 2016
- Sign in via email address and/or username.
- Sign in with NTLM, OrgID, and Microsoft Modern Authentication credentials ONLY.
- Sign out.
- View and update presence status.
- View, but not edit, your note.
- View your calendar appointments today and tomorrow.
- Join online Skype meetings.
- Create an ad-hoc meeting using the “Meet Now” option in the Meetings menu.
- Join a meeting using an url option in the Meetings menu.
- Mute and unmute your microphone.
- Start and stop video.
- View video shared by a remote active speaker.
- View inbound Desktop screen sharing and Application sharing but not uploaded PowerPoint content.
- Share your screen in the meeting.
- Inbound viewing only, desktop sharing outbound coming in future drop.
- View notifications when people join or leave the meeting.
- View in-meeting alerts and notifications.
- Send and receive chat messages during a meeting.
Meeting Participant List (Roster)
- View the meeting roster.
- Invite new participants.
- View mute status of participants.
- Mute and unmute remote participants.
- Accept or decline participants waiting in the lobby.
Audio and Video Preferences
- Update preferred devices for microphone, speaker, and video capability before a call (not during a call).
- Provide any bugs through the ‘Report an Issue’ link and menu options.
- Skype for Business for Mac client currently requires the mobility policies to be enabled in order to sign in.
- Users won’t be able to join Non-federated meetings using this client. As a workaround, users can use Lync for Mac 2011 client to join Non-federated meetings.
- Users need to stop presenting their screen from the Skype for Business for Mac client to the meeting before a second user can start presenting their screen.
- Present Desktop will not work for multiple desktops or monitors. It will only present the main desktop into the meeting. Users should change the desktops via OS Display settings in order to present a secondary desktop.
- Using USB and Bluetooth devices while Running Lync for Mac 2011 and Skype for Business for Mac side by side can result in a bad joining and call experience.
- SHA-512 certs is not supported with the current version of Skype for Business for Mac client.
Check out skypepreview.com to request access to Skype for Business Mac Preview today. The public version is expected to launch in Q3 later this year, replacing Microsoft’s Lync for Mac 2011.