Alternatives to MS Lync for Mac

easyedc
Valued Contributor II

So this is maybe off-topic, but I was wondering if anyone has an alternative to Microsoft Lync for Mac? Here's our problem:

  • Lync is a 32-bit app
  • 32-bit apps are going away
  • Skype for Mac has less features
  • Skype for Mac also requires external mobility to be enabled, and that's a big no-no for our infosec.

Is anyone else in this group? Does anyone else have any alternative apps that integrate with Lync Servers that aren't Skype? Has anyone integrated the Lync/Skype access with Apple Messages (doubtful)?

TIA

14 REPLIES 14

bkerns
New Contributor II

To be clear, are you referring to "Skype for Business", as opposed to just "Skype"? SfB is the direct replacement for Lync. We have used it for some time now.

easyedc
Valued Contributor II

@bkerns Yes. Skype for Business for Mac. To be referred hereafter as SfBfM. It comes down to this:

Infrastructure requirements for Skype for Business on the Mac The Skype for Business on the Mac client leverages both the Unified Communications Management Platform (UCMP) as well as the Unified Communications Web API (UCWA) that our mobility clients use. The client has the same requirements as our mobility clients in that you must have an Access Edge Server and Reverse Proxy deployed in a supported configuration. In addition, your account must be enabled for Mobility.

Specifically this part:

your account must be enabled for Mobility

Infrastructure requirements

So that means that I can take my un-trusted mobile device (aka my iPhone), download the public facing Skype for business app, and then connect with my work credentials. It sounds like a great win, in practice, however our infosec sees that as a MASSIVE security hole and so far has blocked access to that for all but a select few users. Basically, I need an app that can connect to the Lync server back end that is not 32-bit and not SfBfM.

merps
Contributor III

Are you using Lync Server 2013 or Skype for Business 2015?

Also, are you looking for external access or just use while on the corporate network?

We're currently on Lync Server 2013 and only have corporate network access, using SfBfM and the mobility piece is not enabled. We don't have an edge server.

To get Skype working, we had to upgrade Lync 2013 to CU 5.0.8308.992, and use the SIP address (username@domain.tld) instead of the format that the Skype client suggests, but it works.

Other requirements - SfBfM did not work on Yosemite but is fine on Sierra. Also, on the Advanced Options of the sign-in page, the username needs to also be entered (username@domain.tld) and uncheck Auto-Detect, entering servername.domain.tld in both the internal and external discovery address fields.

SfBfM lost the ability to share files through chat, but video conference and group chat do work. Our messaging team is working on a back end upgrade to Skype for Business 2015 server, which is supposed to bring back file sharing.

It's worth a shot to test out the client and just see if it will work with your current server setup. There may be fewer adjustments required than it appears on the surface.

easyedc
Valued Contributor II

@merps I'm curious if you end up being able to get the file sharing part restored. That's one thing that I've been told is reliant on Microsoft fixing with code, and there is no plan for that.

scottb
Valued Contributor III

I wish Lync were still being supported. I hate the new SFB, and still use/will use Lync until I can't.
The interface on SFB is particularly annoying and space-wasting.

easyedc
Valued Contributor II

@scottb Totally agreed. While Lync is now so very old, it worked quite well still. That time where "you can't" use it is fast approaching.

scottb
Valued Contributor III

@easyedc - I know. I'm just looking over the cliff 🙂

mojo21221
Contributor II

2 tin cans and a string?

miregan
Contributor II

Cant believe people prefer Lync of SfB. SfB is leagues better.

easyedc
Valued Contributor II

For us the breaking/removal/"upgrade" of taking file sharing out of chat windows is a big issue. Also some of the GUI changes are a little annoying. And it seems like things break during "updates" more frequently with Skype. For example, we have an open ticket with MSFT that is related to the fact that regardless of whether checked or not, SfBfM refuses to cache credentials and auto-login. Also for us it's our soft-phone, and currently that's broken as well. It's way more Apple in that regard.

easyedc
Valued Contributor II

@miregan the only way I think SfBfM is an real advancement over Lync is it's handling of emoticons... I mean... it's got that going for it.

SDamianoINWK
New Contributor III
Cant believe people prefer Lync of SfB. SfB is leagues better.

As a help desk tech, losing file sharing and the ability to control Windows monitors has been very cumbersome with Skype for Biz. We use Lync server 2013, but a hybrid exchange environment. As I understand it, we can't add, create, or modify contact lists in Skype for Biz on the Mac until we are using the Office 365 Skype for Biz server.

Trillian supposedly works with Lync/Skype for Biz. I haven't tried it myself but it is in the app store.

gachowski
Valued Contributor II

@easyedc

I barely know what I am talking about, but I am sort of sure you can use ADFS and network controls to prevent access. It's just going to take a lot of time and energy to get it configured correctly.

We had our "setup" configured this way when we started using Lync and SfB. Years ago...

C

scottb
Valued Contributor III

SFB has so many less features; is clunky, and wastes real estate.
I actually really like most of my MS software these days, but SFB can just sit there until I have to use it.
Can't xfer files like Lync.
Can't set "time to away" like Lync.
Can't minimize the contacts list like link to a very small footprint.

That said, why is JAMF still running all 32-bit apps? Most of mine are 64 now. I probably missed a post or doc somewhere...didn't mean to derail. 😛