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Microsoft Corp. is boosting the compatibility of its Lync instant messaging client with free voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service Skype, and adding Lync for Android tablets among its product offerings.

At Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Lync Conference in Las Vegas, company executives said it will demonstrate videoconferencing between Lync and Skype, which has been a major issue between the two communication tools before. Microsoft paid US$8.5 billion for Skype in 2011.

Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president for Lync and Skype engineering said the goal is to bring the two applications’ experiences “even closer over time” to facilitate communication.

Microsoft, however, will continue to market Skype as a consumer application and Lync as a business communications tool.

Lync users will be able to conduct calls and videoconferences with individuals on Skype, according to Giovanni Mezgec, general manager of product marketing for Skype and Lync. However, Lync users will still not be able to share files with Skype users and Skype users will not be able to view PowerPoint presentations by Lync users, he said.

Microsoft also plans to release Lync for Android tablets. Microsoft has struggled with the tablet form factor. The company hopes to fill that niche by offering Lync support to tablets running Android 4.0 and higher.

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