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Microsoft May Transition Skype for Business to Office 365 Teams

An apparent Microsoft slip-up suggests that the company is planning to switch Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams.

The possibility of such a switch was noted in this Microsoft Tech Community discussion thread. Participants in that thread last week reported seeing an Outlook message stating that "Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams!"

The conversation was cited by veteran Microsoft reporter, Mary Jo Foley, who had initially speculated that Microsoft's notice was a mistake. However, more definitive language also briefly showed up in the Office 365 Message Center for some users, as noted by Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Tony Redmond in this article.

The notice in the Message Center stated that "We're upgrading Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams." It was later removed from the Message Center, according to Redmond.

In a Tweet, Redmond stated that "Microsoft confirms Skype for Business becomes Teams." Perhaps Microsoft did that, or maybe Microsoft just leaked the concept. There's currently no confirmation from the company.

A Microsoft Tech Community post on Friday promoting the upcoming Microsoft Ignite event happening later this month noted that Microsoft is planning to announce "exciting news" in a Sept. 25 keynote talk, entitled "Microsoft 365: Transform your communications with Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business." Much of the Skype for Business talks listed in that post seem to be associated with Microsoft Teams.

Perhaps the news to come will be more about integrated capabilities, rather than some sort of a consolidation of the two services. Skype for Business Online is a separate Office 365 unified communications service enabling voice, video, presence and messaging communications. It has different capabilities from the "collaboration workspace" provided by the Microsoft Teams service, which surfaces organizational information though Office Graph search technology.

Microsoft Teams does come with Skype for Business Online communication capabilities. However, it's there to support "peer-to-peer (P2P) instant messaging only," according to a March 16 post in the Microsoft Tech Community thread by Microsoft MVP Darrell Webster.

Messaging support may not be a limitation, though. Early on, Microsoft Teams was described as having "audio calling from mobile devices, plus video on Android, which is coming soon to iOS and Windows Phone." Microsoft's Teams FAQ currently describes Microsoft Teams as "the hub for team chats, calls, meetings and messages." It seems clear that Microsoft plans to add other Skype for Business capabilities beyond messaging to Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams initially was limited to internal collaborations within organizations. However, an early test capability to invite guests from outside an organization using Office 365 Groups was rolled out last month, and it has support for Microsoft Teams.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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