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Is Skype for Business Dead? Long Live Teams!

Microsoft Teams has been around for less than a year now but it is already set to takeover from Skype for Business. Announced at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference in Orlando this week the tech giant unveiled its plans to kill the Skype name. Teams integrates most of Skype’s functionality already so for many this was an expected move.

Microsoft has said it is building a new infrastructure for Skype and it will serve as an enterprise-grade service for voice, video, and meetings all within the Teams setup. There are options for those not wanting to move to Teams right now but Microsoft is already trying to push 365 users towards Teams as their key communications instead of relying of Skype for Business.

A new Skype for Business Server will be released in the second half of 2018 for on-premises deployments.

This move is going to see Teams pick up a range of new communications capabilities, such as connectivity to phone networks, with all the attendant features like voicemail, conference calling, and call transfers.

The big questions is, will this move be a Slack killer? It’s too early to tell but Microsoft is betting big on a hybrid of communications for co-workers to collaborate and communicate.

Scott Riley, Chief Strategy Officer at GCI commented on the news in a recent blog. He said, “The great thing is that Teams will bring everything together in one place via a single unified client. It should break down silos and avoid the legitimate questions that Microsoft users ask today regarding when they should use Teams, Yammer, Skype for Business or Email. Additionally, Microsoft has revealed that Teams will have feature parity across Windows and Mac clients, something which has not previously been the case with Skype for Business.

“Microsoft’s announcement is great for customers – it makes Office 365 even more useful than it was. It also opens the door to simplified workspaces, greater use of the Office Graph (Delve) to surface relevant documents, in context and as needed. However, it’s also a commitment that Microsoft has recognised that Cloud PBX isn’t going to change overnight. Nor is every firm going to adopt Teams straightaway. It enables organisations to evolve at their own pace and showed us just what the future of UC could look like – and it’s pretty exciting!”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine