A brief rant about the Mac Lync client

I’m supposed to be working on my Ignite slides, but I just ran into something that has flipped my safeties.

I just don’t understand.

Sure, I know the Lync/Skype for Business team has a lot of irons in the fire, what with their new product line and all. And I get that the Mac install base is small relative to the other things they have to do. But there is no reason I can see for the Mac Lync client to be as buggy and underfeatured as it is. They’ve had years to improve it.

The Lync PG has proven they can do rapid engineering work, as evidenced by the excellent speed and quality of the Lync mobile apps for Android and iOS.

And they’ve proven they can build a robust client, as evidenced by the history of the Lync desktop client for Windows.

The Mac Office team, for their part, has shown that they can produce high-quality clients that reliably work with Microsoft’s services.

So why does the Mac Lync client make me want to start throwing things?

Today’s example: I am signed into Lync with my work account. I want to create a meeting in my personal Exchange calendar, invite attendees, and set it up as an online meeting. This is trivial using Windows Outlook and the Lync (and, now, SfB) client: create the invite, click the “Lync meeting” button, and boom.

On the Mac, however, this scenario doesn’t work– clicking the “Online Meeting” button produces an obnoxious dialog telling me that I must be signed in to the same account in Lync as I’m using in Outlook.

This is just the latest in the pecked-to-death-by-ducks experience of using the Lync client on a Mac. In honesty, the client is more stable and has more features than its predecessors; hell, it even supports the Conversation History folder now. But what I want is a robust client, with feature parity with Windows, that works to enable the same scenarios I can easily perform in Windows. That’s not too much to ask.

I don’t know (and, as an end user, don’t care) which team inside Microsoft owns this. And I don’t have an opinion on who should own it. All I want is a solid client experience.

(And while I am on a rant: damnit, the Windows Phone sync client for the Mac is a giant pile of fail. Microsoft has apparently abandoned it in place. Bug reports go into a black hole. Latest example: after months of prerelease availability, Apple released the Photos app and… surprise… the WP8 sync app doesn’t work with it.)



Filed under FAIL, OS X, UC&C

6 responses to “A brief rant about the Mac Lync client

  1. Alex Lewis

    Why doesn’t anyone ask apple to be responsible for writing apps for their own platform?

    • robichaux

      Short answer: If Microsoft wants to sell SfB CALs they need to provide clients. Apple does write their own apps: they have generic mail and calendar apps that support Exchange (although not as well as MS clients). If I were Apple, I’d ask where the value to Apple is to ship an in-box SfB client… especially if Microsoft can barely be bothered. What benefit accrues to Apple in exchange for the dev/test/support costs?

  2. I’m glad that you blogged this. The Mac client has been a huge stumbling block for adoption. It’s simply unfathomable that we are asked to push Lync as the Enterprise conference solution but our MAC users can hardly signin before a crash. We have to reinstall the client, delete certificates, remove profiles – each new update brings authentication failures where, yes, clean install it the only workaround. If it were not for the mac client, we’d get FEW call at the support desk AND we could actually promote the product without feeling embarrassment when faced with angry mac users.

    It’s been years, and at this point – i am pissed off about the mac client. and i’m pissed that it’s going to be 2016 until i get a ray of any additional hope – from what i’m told anyways.

    • robichaux

      Word at Ignite is that we’re getting an all-new Skype for Business client for Mac, this year. We shall see, I guess…

  3. David Gaither

    While we’re ranting, anyone else notice that Outlook Web App runs half-broke on Chrome? Most notably, you cannot attach files! I have replicated this issue in Win7 and OSX environments. IE, Safari, FireFox – all work fine. What the hell?!

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