One of the most recent causes for gossip around Microsoft has been the suggestion that Skype for Business will eventually be transformed into Microsoft Teams. While there’s still no overall confirmation of how the Teams/Skype merger will come to life, it seems as though Microsoft is taking a staged approach to the idea, gradually pushing new Skype features into the Teams application. At least, this seems to be the case for the latest “dial-in” feature preview.
The “Join by Phone” Feature
According to an announcement by Microsoft Skype for Business Tech consultant, Jeff Brown, the Skype for Business dial-in number is now in public preview mode. When you go into a meeting, you’ll find a feature in the descriptions section that’s titled “Join by Phone”. This section comes with its own conference ID information, and dial-in number, which you can share with people who want to join your meeting.
When someone logs into the Teams meeting, they’ll be identified by their phone number, to help provide clarity over who’s talking at any given time. Brown suggested that the dial-in feature is a much-desired element for the Microsoft Teams community and a sign that Teams is “rapidly” adopting Skype for Business aspects.
While Brown noted that the feature is in public preview, there hasn’t been an official announcement about it from Microsoft yet. Of course, the “Ignite” conference will be in full swing by next week, so there’s a good chance that we’ll be getting more updates then.
Bringing Together Teams and Skype
Right now, the idea that Skype will be demoted into nothing more than a series of Teams features is nothing more than gossip. However, it does make sense that Microsoft would want to converge overlapping systems into one. Since the Teams application launched in 2016, Microsoft has made an effort to separate it from Skype for Business, but that’s been a tactic that’s particularly difficult to achieve. Many abilities and features for both services are naturally interconnected.
If they did officially integrate Skype and Teams together, Microsoft could seize a more competitive edge in the workplace communication industry. However, that’s provided that people are willing to adopt Teams instead of Skype. For now, Skype for Business is powering well ahead of its competitors in the communication space, and it will be interesting to see whether pushing more Skype features into Teams will make the app into the collaboration service Microsoft hoped for.