Last month, Microsoft confirmed it will fold Skype for Business into Microsoft Teams. The former will be ended while Teams becomes the company’s workplace chat solution. For the first time, Microsoft has expanded on its plans and offered a roadmap. The first timeframe is the second quarter of 2018.

Microsoft is the dominant force in the workplace chat market with Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. In an effort to continue to best Google Hangouts and Slack, the company said it would consolidate those two platforms into one under the Teams branding.

Teams was launched globally in March and was announced last November. The service is integrated into Office 365 and is already underpinned by Skype for Business. It simply makes sense for the two different platforms to become one.

In its plans announced today, Microsoft says the integration will help customers and organizations understand the service. Features coming next year include PSTN Conferencing is becoming Audio Conferencing, Cloud PBX will be simply Phone System, and PSTN Calling will now be known as Calling Plan.

Those are Skype for Business features coming to Microsoft Teams during Q2 2018. In the meantime, Microsoft will launch the ability to voicemail during this quarter. Looking forward to 2018, here are some key features coming to Teams:

  • Messaging — Screen sharing during chat and federation between companies
  • Meetings — Meeting room support with Skype Room Systems and cloud video interoperability capabilities that allow third party meeting room devices to connect to Teams meetings
  • Calling — Use your existing telco voice line to activate calling services in Office 365.
  • Other features — Record a meeting and store it in Teams, have transcription added, and be able to search the meeting for key terms

Workplace Chat Dominance

Interestingly, Skype for Business is currently the market leading choice for organizations conducting enterprise-based chat. Last year, we reported on a survey by IT network Spiceworks that found Skype is comfortably in the lead, followed by Google Hangouts and Slack.