Microsoft announced today that it will connect the Skype back-end to its Lync business-oriented IM client. This is good news. Though I’m no fan of Skype, the Skype back-end services for audio and video chat are hugely popular and important. And making them available to Microsoft’s best communications client makes plenty of sense.

I have a separate and lengthier editorial about this topic that will be published later today on Windows IT Pro. But the high-level view is this:

Skype audio chat and IM: Heading to Lync 2013 by the end of Microsoft’s current fiscal year, or by the end of June 2013.

Skype video chat: Heading to Lync 2013 by the end of Microsoft’s next fiscal year, or by the end of June 2014.

Lync 2013 mobile apps: Windows Phone 8, iPhone and iPad by the end of April, Android handsets and tablets by the end of May.

Lync is part of Skype. Lync used to be part of Office. I hope this move doesn’t destroy Lync, but Microsoft pledges to keep the products separate with Skype its consumer communications brand and Lync its business-oriented communications brand.

Lync Online: Will be updated quarterly going forward.

Lync Server: Will be updated in one year to a new product version with new features.

I’ll have more later in that editorial.

Update: 2013 Promises To Be a Big Year for Lync is now available too.