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Hot Xmas treat for WinPho punters - Office doc sharing

Just what you've always wanted - a mobile Lync client

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Microsoft's communications platform Lync has gone mobile with a Windows Phone client, but we're still waiting for the promised iPhone and Android clients billed as "coming soon".

Lync is the platform formally known as "Microsoft Office Communicator", and provides shared access to Office documents as well as shared working spaces (whiteboards, presentations) for collaborative working. So far that sharing has been restricted to those sitting at a desk, but now the handful of people with a Windows Phone handset will be able to join the party.

They'll need a Lync server too, but once that's up and running it will manage calls and messaging within the intranet, and provide a gateway to the various messaging services employes might already be using. Lync also enables conference calling at the touch of a button, as long as everyone involved in the conference is using Lync too.

Android and iOS versions of Lync are promised, as well as an iPad version for those who've run out of patience waiting for their new Windows tablet.

Speaking of which - Microsoft has also updated the iOS version of OneNote, the killer application of the company's last foray into tablet computing. The new iOS version still isn't as good as the Windows XP Tablet edition, which allowed the user to literally circle interesting things to be stuck into an electronic scrapbook, but it integrates better with Microsoft's SkyDrive and offers an improved interface - all for $5 or $15 depending on the girth of your iDevice.

Microsoft is betting a lot on Lync, described by none other than Bill Gates as "probably the most important thing to happen for the office worker since the PC came along". iOS ports of OneNote would seem to show Redmond embracing alternative platforms, but the decision to start with Windows Phone also shows how Microsoft still sees one platform fuelling sales of another. ®

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