Questions as to how Microsoft intends to integrate Skype and its Lync Server solution together were only partly answered by CEO Steve Ballmer in his keynote speech to the recent Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2011).

No one expected him to give much away, mainly because the Skype acquisition  is still subject to regulatory approval. However, he did do his best to allay fears among the partner community, admitting to having been asked "over and over" as to whether the Skype acquisition somehow meant that Microsoft was no longer "as serious and enthusiastic" about Lync.

"Quite the contrary," was Ballmer's answer, "one of the great motivations in acquiring Skype is to enable the enterprise to have all of the control it wants of communication and collaboration through Active Directory and Lync, and yet be able to connect people within enterprises to consumers, businesses, and trading partners around the world."

He didn't elucidate as to how this would be achieved technically, or where Lync Online, part of the new Office 365 service fitted into the equation.

He did, though, claim that some seventy per cent of Fortune 500 companies were Lync users already and that it was one of Microsoft's fastest growing products.

And lastly, in an upbeat conclusion, he said that with "the power of Lync and Skype combined under the same umbrella" (he didn't say what that umbrella might be), Microsoft and its partners  were going to do "even more fantastic things."

Which may well turn out to be true, but we'll need a lot less bluster and a deal more detail before we can make any kind of judgement call on this one.

This article is written by Alan Stevens and sponsored by Avaya. The opinions reflected in this piece are solely those of Alan Stevens and may not reflect those of Avaya management