Skype for Business is joining the Microsoft Teams family, as the company marches forth on their quest to crack the enterprise collaboration nut. While Skype may have started life as a way to disrupt the traditional telco business, it's become a key tool for businesses wanting to connect distributed teams.
It seems the move was accidentally leaked before being pulled. Users logged in to Microsoft's cloud services saw a message that was quickly removed as news of the previously unannounced change spread over social media.
With the Ignite conference coming up at the end of the month, it's expected a full announcement will be made then. But the accidental leak has forced Microsoft to issue a statement saying the move is on and that, for now, it's opt-in.
What's all this mean? I think the magic word here is "consolidation". Microsoft has some solid competition from Slack and probably sees Workplace by Facebook as a nascent threat as well. While Microsoft has royally cocked up the advantage they had in mobile when they completely underestimated the impact of the iPhone and Android, they have been far better at managing threats against their enterprise business - although it took getting rid of Steve Ballmer and bringing in Satya Nadella to move them from boxed software to the cloud.
Business is all about collaboration and no-one has yet really nailed this from a technology point of view. There are lots of point solutions out there but an integrated suite of tools that just works has eluded the market. Microsoft has all the pieces of the puzzle.
They have chat and video and audio calling sorted out. They have the collaboration features of the Office suite and a formidable infrastructure layer to power all this with Azure. Add their massive base of incumbent users and they have a box full of puzzle pieces.
All they need is some smart people to put it all together into a package that doesn't get in the way of people who just want to work.