Business

Microsoft to replace Skype for Business with Teams

Company will repackage its communications tools

FILE PHOTO: A web camera is seen in front of a Skype logo in this photo illustration taken in Zenica, May 26, 2015.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
FILE PHOTO: A web camera is seen in front of a Skype logo in this photo illustration taken in Zenica, May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

SEATTLE — Microsoft will end Skype’s foray into business communications, packaging its communications tools into Microsoft Teams, the company’s challenge to workplace collaboration start-up Slack.

Skype for Business, the company’s voice and video-chat software, will be replaced in Microsoft’s Office 365 bundle by Teams, Microsoft said Monday at Ignite, its annual conference for business-technology buyers. The company, based outside Seattle, didn’t set a date for the changeover.

Much of the shift is cosmetic. Skype’s technology backbone will still route customers calls through the web in Teams. The consumer version of Skype, which got a Snapchat-like face-lift earlier this year, will continue to operate under its own name.

But the move shows the growing importance of Teams at Microsoft. The software, which allows business users to set up chat windows between individual co-workers as well as groups, was introduced a year ago and aimed squarely at the success of San Francisco based Slack Technologies.

Slack’s easy-to-use software, and its free tier for people to experiment with, has made the company one of the hottest business-technology start-ups. When Amazon.com reportedly was looking at an acquisition of Slack earlier this year, Bloomberg News said the company could be valued at $9 billion.

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