While Windows 8 and Office 2013 get all the hype, it's time for Microsoft partners to focus on Lync -- the unified communications platform. Lync was the big winner in Microsoft's latest earnings results. It's available on-premises and within the Office 365 cloud. Some hosting providers also offer Lync. And what about Microsoft VARs? Lync could ultimately become as big an opportunity as Microsoft SharePoint, The VAR Guy believes. Here's why.

For Microsoft's Q4 2012 results, announced yesterday, Microsoft GM of Investor Relations Bill Koefoed said:
"CIOs continue to invest in our application roadmap and new productivity scenarios... Lync revenue growth accelerated to over 45% as enterprises chose our unified communications platform. We believe unified communications is a huge market opportunity and we are pleased to see these results."
On premises, Lync sounds like it's gaining some momentum with full-blown PBX services. But in the cloud, Microsoft does not yet offer full-blown hosted PBX services... at least not yet. But it's coming.

Early Lync hosting providers include NextUC and xRM, and more Lync hosting providers are popping up everyday. Some of those hosting providers offer white label Lync services to resellers.

The message from The VAR Guy to Microsoft's VARs? Sure, you can try to upgrade desktops to Windows 8 and Office 2013 as your big strategy for 20123. But... um... this Microsoft Lync thing sounds super-hot for partners.