It’s Official: Microsoft Teams Will Replace Skype for Business

Posted on September 25, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365, Skype with 26 Comments

Microsoft confirmed this morning that it will replace Skype for Business with Microsoft Teams, as had been widely rumored. But it will still release a new Skype for Business on-premises server next year for those businesses not ready to move to the cloud.

To be clear, only the Skype for Business brand is really going away, and then only in the cloud for the short term. That is, all of the capabilities that Microsoft’s business customers expect from Skype for Business will be rolled into Microsoft Teams. That latter product has been well-received by customers and has experienced exploding usage in its first six months of availability. And it’s about to get a lot better. Or at least a lot more capable.

Key to this move is delivering a single architecture—and, on each client platform, a single way to access these features—for Unified Communications. Now, customers will be able to place calls, hold meetings, collaborate with others, and communicate in other ways all from a single place. And that place is Microsoft Teams.

At the time of this writing, it’s not clear what the schedule is for phasing out Skype for Business across Office 365, Microsoft 365, and the software giant’s other cloud-based offerings. But Microsoft Teams will become the core communications client “over time,” Microsoft says, and it will be updated with numerous features and meeting enhancements during this transition. These will include features normally associated with Skype for Business, including inbound/outbound calls to PSTN systems, the ability to hold and transfer calls, voicemail, audio conferencing, universal presence, and messaging and calling interoperability.

Obviously, this is blockbuster news, but it’s a transition that will take some time. And I don’t believe this change impacts the consumer version of Skype in any way.


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Comments (27)

27 responses to “It’s Official: Microsoft Teams Will Replace Skype for Business”

  1. zati

    Office Communicator, then Lync, then Skype Business, and now Microsoft Teams. What a mess!

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to zati:

      Business, services, products... these things evolve; and the rate of change is much faster than what it was ten years ago.

    • SMFX

      In reply to zati:

      The SfB client is still Lync.exe, so I won't be surprised if its just a rebranding for a while. They seem to keep hitching this UC platform to the brand that seems most 'it' at the time. It'll be relatively easy to blend the one on one IM parts, and even some of the meetings, but I'll be worry about how well they'll do the PBX and conferencing pieces into the Teams interface.

      • Stooks

        In reply to SMFX:

        "They seem to keep hitching this UC platform to the brand that seems most 'it' at the time."

        That is not good from a business perspective. Potential customers won't even know the name of the product because it could change on Friday.

    • Stooks

      In reply to zati:

      100% agree. Complete train wreck. None of them ever gets finished either.

      I want to work in the Microsoft naming division. They are busy people and have been for 20 years.

  2. markatcristorey

    I'm a big fan of the move, but I would really, really appreciate better communication and timlines from MSFT on this. They've done a terrible job of communicating when it comes to the whole Skype for Business / Office 365 product, and the move to Teams feels like the right answer but there's so little we know about it right now other than "it's happening".

  3. ndwilder

    Considering that Skype for Business is simply a hacked version of Lync, they were never that serious about it in the first place. Why did they even bother changing the name? Could have simply updated the GUI and left it simple. I'm curious to see how this "client" works...we're agile and can adapt...but I am most curious as to whether or not it makes external meetings easier. At the moment, it can be a challenge to get people to join a Skype for Business meeting, and their PSTN/VOIP integration is severely lacking for those of us with open and locally hosted solutions (not even allowing custom dial meeting info to be inserted automatically)...hoping Teams improves there too.

  4. Martin Sjöholm

    Many companies are going with Google docs, hangout, etc. MS needs to watch their six on this one.

  5. SvenJ

    "These will include features normally associated with Skype for Business, including inbound/outbound calls to PSTN systems, the ability to hold and transfer calls, voicemail, audio conferencing, universal presence, and messaging and calling interoperability."

    Don't see video conferencing in that list. That's what we primarily us it for.

  6. Miroslaw Gumiela

    What about Skype Room Systems v2?

  7. harmjr

    Lync to Skype for Business and now MS Teams. Next week will they rename it again? Seriously we need to stop letting Marketing guys call the shots. Lock it down and quit changing it.

    Now a tech question: Will Microsoft Teams work with Skype (non business) like it does between Skype to Skype for Business? A lot of my departments use this especially during job interviews.

  8. sjgibb99

    Somewhat surprised by this announcement. S4B is well used in our company and is generally liked. It's taken a year for it to really take hold, now we have this.

    Teams is an interesting app, but it is very, very busy visually and quite overwhelming. We've not been using it so far beyond testing within the IT dept, as users are already comfortable with the original Groups system. Many non-tech savy users are going to really struggle with the Teams interface.

  9. Stooks

    So what about Lync or I mean Skype for Business on premise?? We run that on prem today, will there be a Teams on premise or is this to force us into the MS cloud?????

    If forced my company will look at all options without a doubt.

  10. maethorechannen

    What about Yammer? It looks like there's overlapping functionality there too.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to maethorechannen:

      There is overlap with Yammer, but in my experience Yammer has a somewhat different fundamental role than Teams or O365 Groups. My company has 50k+ people and we used Yammer effectively as more of a bulletin board; a place for conversations; a way to break down silos since groups were public, and typically organized around interests (dataviz, Excel user groups, etc.), office locations (e.g. NYC office, APIMEA region) business solution (e.g. Price and Promotion, Marketing Mix, Online Survey) or client. It was a great way to connect with people across a huge organization. In a small organization you might run into these folks at the coffee machine, in the cafe, at happy hour or in the occasional all-hands meeting; and that would be sufficient to kind of know who to go to for different needs. It also meant a lot less corporate email for things like newsletters or industry reports.

      On the other hand, we used O365 Groups for project-based work where you had some smaller number of people who needed to work closely together. They needed to be able to collaborate; have a library of shared folders; ping each-other throughout the day; etc. It's not that you couldn't do a lot of this stuff in Yammer, it's just that Yammer wasn't expressly designed for it.

  11. Polycrastinator

    Great. Momentum is a terrible thing, and while Skype for Business is kind of bad, and Teams is great to use, actually getting folks to start utilizing Teams has been a challenge. Glad that they're going to force the issue.

  12. stephenrgarrett

    I like Teams, but it is missing some critical features that MS has been slow to acknowledge are important on their bug/feature board. I would prefer they be a single app, but I really hope they actually finish Teams before they take away Skype For Business.

  13. hack-o-holic

    I'm sorry but this sucks. Teams is a viable product and great for people who work like that (millennials working from home or in different offices). However it is a big honkin app that gets in your face every time Windows boots. Skype For Business is relatively small and laser focused on simple communications like IM and easy desktop sharing for help desk support with my users.

    I see this as a bad move in a long line of bad moves. Also have had it with the naming debacles from these guys...

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to hack-o-holic:

      Keep in mind that one's idea of what is "laser focused" depends on one's perspective and usage. Take someone who is used to SMS-style chat and sit them down in front of an ongoing Skype for Business conference call with video, screen sharing, a comments bar, white board, etc. and their head would explode. Yes, once you get used to S4B-- and if you just use it for IM and screen-sharing-- then it does appear to be quite simple, dare I say "lean"? After a few years, even desktop Outlook seems reasonable as all of the stuff you don't use (i.e. ignore) seems to fade into the background. That said, perhaps Teams could benefit from some user configurable elements to make it more visually compact. Sadly my company switched to G Suite so I have not had a chance to test out Teams.

  14. MachineGunJohn

    Less interesting because the teams ux is so poor but very interesting if they make the apis required to provide those telephony features available to all PWAs

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