Microsoft Teams is replacing Skype for Business to put more pressure on Slack

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams isn’t even a year old, but it’s about to replace Skype for Business. At Microsoft’s Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida today, the software giant is revealing that it plans to kill off Skype for Business in favor of Microsoft Teams. Skype for Business took over from Lync, Microsoft’s previous business chat app, back in 2015. Microsoft’s original Teams launch made it look obvious that Skype for Business would eventually disappear, given the fact that Teams integrates most of Skype’s functionality already.

Microsoft says it has been building a new Skype infrastructure that has been “evolving rapidly,” and it will serve as the enterprise-grade service for voice, video, and meetings in Microsoft Teams. A new Skype for Business server will be available in the second half of 2018 for customers not ready to move to Teams, but Microsoft is pushing Office 365 users will to move over to Teams as the key communications client instead of relying on Skype for Business.

Microsoft is also promising better meetings with Teams in the future, thanks to AI. Microsoft is building in machine learning, cognitive services, and speech recognition to improve a meetings experience and make it easier to set them up and receive follow ups after the meeting has concluded.

Microsoft’s move to push Teams over Skype as its main communications tool will put even further pressure on Slack, the successful rival to Microsoft Teams. Slack already showed last year that it was concerned about Microsoft’s Teams software, and Microsoft eventually bundled Teams with Office 365 as an optional and free addition. This further change means millions of Office 365 customers will eventually move over to use Microsoft Teams instead of Skype for Business.


I’m looking forward to this. We currently have 5 messaging clients (Sametime, Slack, Teams, Skype for Business, ArmorText) and I’d like to reduce this to 1 or 2. If MS can find a way to allow external access without an MSA, I can see us getting rid of Slack and just go with Teams, which to me makes the most sense now that I am fully migrating our organization to O365.

Azure Active Directory B2C / B2B?

Guest access already works for that, I believe later in the year or next it will be enabled for Microsoft accounts.

Anything to replace Skype for Business is a step up in my book

Hasn’t it only been a couple years since Lync became Skype for Business? Seems like Microsoft is better and creating new names for products every year or two rather than innovation.

Hasn’t it only been a couple years since Lync became Skype for Business? Seems like Microsoft is better and creating new names for products every year or two rather than innovation

You’d have a point if Skype For Business and Microsoft Teams were anywhere near the same product.
But they aren’t.

Well the headline says Teams is replacing Skype for Business. So clearly there is a relationship there, in some way.

I mean…do you even have a point?

Of course the two are related, because Teams is a better way of communicating than SfB. I use both in my job and highly prefer Teams. Its hard to get the dinosaurs to adapt, so this is good news for me.

Microsoft is in charge of enterprise software. Enterprise software must be familiar, adaptable, and useful for a wide range of people who mostly do not want their tools to change or even look different. In this case, "innovation", a word that has no real definition these days, is the implementation of a tool in a workstream that encourages fast adaptation, improved communication, and improved organization/recall.

Teams is similar to slack, that in itself is not "new". What is new, however, is teams integration into sharepoint, video conferencing, and office collaboration. Slack is useful in workflow for small startups that use slack, google docs, and github as their primary tools. Large enterprises use OneDrive, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Suite.

In your words "Enterprise software must be familiar…"
Microsoft is so much about constantly changing names of products. Teams might be great but it’s a lot bigger than Lync…er I mean Skype for Business. So what is good for you is not necessarily good for everybody. Microsoft has always been a mess in terms of continuity/what you call "familiar". I was just pointing out that this is another case of that.

Well.. the difference between the Lync → SfB transition and SfB → Teams transition is that the former was a simple renaming – the underlying software and functionality essentially remained the same. Teams, however, is a brand new product with new features.

Don’t forget that Lync replaced (shivers) Office Communicator

Last month, my work PC upgraded to Skype from Office Communicator. I expect to get Teams somewhere around 2023.

We just moved our 55,000+ employees to Skype for Business (leaving, WebEx and GoToMeeting), but Skype sorta sucks so I’m now looking foward to Teams… inevitable since we’re all on Office 365.

Same here. Inevitable… Enterprise customers are suckers… MS can virtually do whatever it wants.

In this case, what they’re doing is actually good.

Microsoft has you by the gonads.

Can someone please smack the managers over at Microsoft… hard and repeatedly?!
Stop splintering off your offerings simply because a new manager has a NEW and INNOVATIVE idea!! You lose customers that way and have many many times in the past!
Stop renaming things too because you think it renews interest.
Why not integrated Team into Skype as an offering and get the best of both worlds?

Agreed: the Verge (and readers) are quick to complain about Google’s messaging platforms, but Microsoft are just as bad. Yammer, Skype, Office Communicator, MSN Messenger have all been pitched in this area) – I’m all for adding features or even specialising where appropriate but flipping brands back and forth is like Ford renaming Mustang every other year (yeah, they’re new models, but they still are the same class of car and mostly the same).

I suspect we’ll see Microsoft LinkedIn Team Message Board next year…

Shiny new software is a great way to spice things up at work.

No it is not. Do you know how hard is to deploy new communication tool for tens of thousands of people in one organization? We have Skype f Business for 2 years now, but only now people are switching from plain teleconferencing to Skype meetings. It really takes years and loads of manpower…

Why did you do it? Is it worth it? Who makes those decision? Some executives who have some Microsoft executives as buddies?

so you admit it would spice things up.

Yes! intregration of teams would be much much better, but this is MS…

If you’ve ever used skype for business, you’d know that it sucks balls and was really just a re-skinned lync with a terribly implemented half-baked Modern (nee Metro) UI. It didn’t play well with outlook even though it was supposed to and no was is ever sure if it really is working.

Because Skype has become synonymous of "crappy", i.e. bad reputation. So new name, new product, new expectation. New is necessarily cool and interesting in high tech.

MS will hardly lose any customers. It’s part of the package that most enterprise customers will have no choice but keep using.

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