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 originally 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’s Office 365 users will be moved over to Teams as the key communications client.
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 now be forced to use Microsoft Teams instead of Skype for Business.