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Office 365 communications platform gets Teams-first approach

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The future looks bright for Microsoft Teams -- at the expense of Skype for Business Online.

Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for Business Online, although there's no official timetable for the changeover. After the switch, Teams will become the core Office 365 communications client. For companies that use Skype for Business Online, a move to Teams will require a shift in plans for phones, gateways, session border control and voice performance management. Microsoft said it will add calling features to Teams, but there is concern among some Skype for Business users that call quality in Teams will not match their standards. Some businesses might run both Skype for Business Online and Teams for Office 365 communications and slowly move end users to Teams.

Microsoft's decision reflects the fact that companies now prefer team chat applications, such as Slack, instead of traditional forms of business communication. Teams is a closer alternative to Slack than Skype for Business Online, which is primarily a software-based phone service. The Teams interface likely appeals to younger users and mobile employees.

Skype for Business Server -- the on-premises version that connects Skype for Business to the public telephone network -- lives on. Microsoft plans to introduce an upgrade for the product in the second half of 2018.

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