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Microsoft Lync Online Review
Microsoft Lync Online is placed as web conferencing service within the "Office 365" product suite. The software does offer all essential functionalities such as desktop sharing and app sharing, whiteboard, file transfer, chat as well as video and audio conferencing. Prior to scheduling a meeting the host must install an Outlook add-in - otherwise participants can only be invited ad hoc while the meeting is live.
During our tests we encountered various difficulties so that our testing team's patience was tested as well. For example, when the host tried to share his screen network problems occurred and subsequently, the host couldn’t present his screen. Additionally, the installation of Microsoft Lync was complex and wouldn’t run on all Windows-based PCs.
To join a web conference, attendees can choose whether to install Lync locally or to use Lync Web App (browser-based version). When using the browser-based version, the range of functionalities is limited.
Bottom line: Microsoft Lync Online is well suited for scheduled meetings and ad hoc events. Considering the installation effort, the solution is more appropriate for mid-sized and enterprise companies and may particularly be used for collaborating internally.
Option 1: Office 365 for professionals and small businesses (plan P1, up to 50 employees): USD 6 per month and user;
Otion 2: Office 365 for mid-size businesses (plan E1 and E3): from USD 8 per month and user;
Option 3: Lync Server 2010 plus CAL user licenses: different pricing depending on edition (standard vs. enterprise edition)
Single and multi user license
Voice over IP and phone costs
|all essential features available|
|Usage is not always intuitive|
|ad-hoc meetings can easily be started via the interface and as an alternative meetings can be scheduled with an Outlook add-in|
|Installation procedure is complex and time consuming|
|Pricing and license options are publicly available; cost structure is complex and not easy to understand|
|128-bit SSL encoding|
|runs on Windows and Mac, Smartphones: apps are restricted to messenger functionality; document sharing on iPad|
|Overall Score||6.86 / 10|
Review updated: May 2012
Price information updated: May 2012