Update 20/12/2015: This post originally talked about the Office 2013 / Lync 2013 / 15.x Basic client that could be patched to Skype for Business 2015. Since then Office 2016 / Skype for Business 2016 have been released, and there is an associated Skype for Business 2016 Basic client, it’s available for download here or multiple languages here. If you are looking for Skype for Business basic, this is what you want.
I’ve been asked this question a few times. There is a free “Lync Basic” client, mainly targeted at the lower end Office365 levels that include Lync/Skype for Business, but not Office Pro Plus. It doesn’t include all the features, just the core abilities.
Microsoft Lync Basic 2013 gives you instant messaging (IM), audio and video calls, online meetings, availability (presence) information, and sharing capabilities all from one, easy-to-use program. It’s a slimmer version of the full Lync 2013 client and provides the same core functionality.
- Lync Basic 2013 provides all the basic functionality that’s available in the full version of Lync (Lync 2013). It does not include the following full client features:
- Advanced call features (not available with all Office 365 subscriptions); advanced call features include team ring, call forwarding, simultaneous ring, voice mail, call park, call delegation, response groups, and remote call control
- Calendar delegation
Gallery video view– not at RTM, added in an update
- OneNote sharing
Recording-not at RTM, added in an update
- Skill search (not available with Office 365)
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) (not available with Office 365
You can download the Lync 2013 Basic client here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=35451
Update 02/09/2015: Since posting the initial Basic client, Microsoft has posted patches and updates that remove some of the restrictions, such as Update to add recording and gallery view feature in a conversation in Lync Basic 2013. There is a good feature matrix of what is supported in Basic vs. the full client here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg425836(v=ocs.15).aspx. Thanks to Thomas Binder at Microsoft for the pointer and links.
The title of this post is a bit of an attempt to capture what I have been asked, there is no standalone Skype for Business Basic client, but as with all the Lync Windows clients, it updates to Skype for Business via the standard patches.
After installing you will require various office patches, including the ones that will take the client to Skype for Business UI
The client no longer points out it is “Basic” in the title bar, like in 2013
But the features do remain cut down from the full client