Microsoft is preparing to combine its business-focused Lync video conferencing and instant messaging app with Skype to create a new package called Skype for Business.
The package, set to be released in the first half of 2015, will see the creation of a new Skype-like client app, an upgrade of the Lync server software and updates to the service in Office 365.
While Lync already offers instant messaging and audio calling with Skype users, Skype for Business users will also be able to make video calls to Skype users, as well as access to its user directory.
The Skype for Business app will add a number of key interface elements from Skype, including the icons it uses for calling, adding video and ending a call.
At the same time, Skype for Business will retain the Lync content sharing features many businesses rely on but are not present in Skype.
Businesses running Lync Server 2013 will be able to upgrade to Skype for Business Server without needing any new hardware, while the upgrades will be automatic for businesses subscribing to Lync through Office 365.