Microsoft is doubling down on its workplace communication service Teams. At its Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida on Monday, the software giant said Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for Business as the company looks to better compete with Facebook's Workplace and Slack. But even as Microsoft transitions from its Skype for Business service, which will continue to exist for quite some time, the company said several of Skype's best features are coming to Microsoft Teams.
The company said Microsoft Teams will become the core communications client in Office 365. Microsoft Teams will soon receive a software update that would add new calling and meeting features, including inbound and outbound calls to PSTN numbers, it said. Microsoft Teams users will also be able to hold, transfer a call, and make use of voicemail feature. Audio conferencing feature is also in the works.
It isn't the first time Microsoft has taken a step back to see which of its communications apps are well positioned to perform the best among customers. Skype for Business replaced Lync in April 2015, and it has been powering communication experience in Microsoft Teams. Launched in March earlier this year, Teams is already being used by over 125,000 businesses around the world, the company said.
The company said an improved, modern Skype infrastructure with enterprise-grade meeting experiences is in the works. The Skype infrastructure is "evolving rapidly," the company said. For customers who wish to continue with Skype for Business, a new version of Skype for Business server will be released in the second half of 2016.
For Skype for Business customers, even as the company has announced that Microsoft Teams is the future, it says it will continue to support Skype for Business for sometime, though it didn't share an exact time frame. A new version of Skype for Business server will be released in the second half of 2018, the company added.