Microsoft improves Skype for Business with acquisition

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Redmond wants consumer grade ease of use for its business UC solution

Microsoft has acquired the technology underlying the UC Commander product suite from Event Zero, a provider of management software for Skype for Business Online.

The acquisition will allow Microsoft to “expand and improve” the built-in management tools for Skype for Business, said Redmond. “Our goal is to make the Skype for Business management tools as powerful and easy-to-use for IT professionals as Skype is for end users,” it said.

Unified Communications UC Thinking PhoneCustomers of Microsoft’s calling and conferencing services can currently use the Office 365 administration centre to acquire and assign phone numbers to their users in minutes and view reports of audio and video conferencing usage. They can also quickly access aggregated call quality information using the Call Quality Dashboard.

With the acquired technology, Microsoft said, they will be able to add “strong diagnostics” and troubleshooting capabilities with “even more extensive reporting and analytics” for online audio, video conferencing and media streams, all within a unified management and admin system.

Microsoft says it plans to extend the platform to complement partner solutions and integrate their monitoring, reporting and analytics capabilities with Skype for Business Online management tools.

For example, partners will be able to more easily connect on-premises deployments they manage with Office 365 services, including hybrid deployments, provisioning of phones and other endpoints, Microsoft said.

Zig Serafin, corporate vice president, engineering for Skype for Business, said: “We are committed to bringing our customers the leading enterprise communications management experience in Office 365, and enabling IT professionals and our partners worldwide to deliver powerful, high-quality communications services to their users, wherever they are, rapidly and cost effectively.”

Last November, Microsoft signed an agreement to acquire Secure Islands, a specialist in advanced information protection solutions. The value of the latest acquisition has not been disclosed.

@AntonySavvas