Microsoft have released the Lync 2013 client for Windows Phone 8, and it looks great – many more features than the 2010 version, including voice and video calling. However, when I try to login to my account on Office 365 it tells me that “You can’t sign in with this version of Lync. Please install Lync 2010.”
That’s unfortunate and somewhat unexpected, partly because I’m happily using the Lync 2013 desktop client on my Windows 8 desktop, but more so because the app description in the Windows Phone Store gives no real indication that it wouldn’t work. What it does say, in all caps, is this:
IMPORTANT: THIS SOFTWARE REQUIRES CONNECTIVITY TO VALIDLY LICENSED COPIES OF MICROSOFT LYNC SERVER OR OFFICE 365 / LYNC ONLINE AND WILL NOT WORK WITHOUT IT. UPDATES TO MICROSOFT LYNC SERVER MAY BE REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE. SOME FUNCTIONALITY MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE IN ALL COUNTRIES. IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR COMPANY’S LICENSE TO AND/OR DEPLOYMENT OF LYNC, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR IT DEPARTMENT.
That’s the only information about requirements for using the app, and you’ll notice that it explicitly says that you can use it with Office 365. It’s not a case of “some functionality may not be available in all countries” – this client uses something called UCX which isn’t supported by Lync 2010 servers, so evidentially we’ll have to wait for Microsoft to upgrade our O365 tennancy. I’d be fine with that if the above important information didn’t say “UPDATES TO MICROSOFT LYNC SERVER MAY BE REQUIRED FOR PROPER PERFORMANCE.” I’d say that “proper performance” implies that some features may not work optimally, not that you won’t be able to get so far as signing in!
I’m sure that the people who have Lync 2013 and Windows Phone 8 devices are going to be very happy with this app, and I expect that I may be happy with it in the future* but this is just another example of Microsoft giving mixed/misleading messages around Windows Phone 8 and it isn’t good enough! (For the other prime example that annoys me even more, I refer you to the podcast user experience outside the USA. Going into the Podcasts section of the Music + Videos hub tells you that “It’s lonely in here. Go to the Store to add some podcasts”, but there aren’t any unless you’re in the USA. This is something that’s built in to the core OS and only works in one country of all the teritories where Windows Phones are sold. Shocking.)
On a positive note, as one of my colleagues pointed out, at least the error message in this case is vaguely helpful and doesn’t just give you some obscure error code.
* If I don’t switch back to Android first.