Microsoft has made the strategic decision to sunset Skype for Business(S4B) and is transferring the features to Microsoft Teams, their persistent team messaging platform(PTM). This process includes repurposing the S4B server infrastructure to Teams. Thus largely abandoning their more focused enterprise video communication platform in favor of enhancing their new hotness Teams. Teams is more focused at competing with the other fast growing whippersnapper Slack, while S4B would have been more of a competitive issue for Zoom. Will the combined product possibly be impactful for both? Much of the scuttlebutt is there will be at least a fairly rocky transitional period for Microsoft.
Interestingly Zoom integrates seamlessly with all 3, S4B, Teams, and Slack. With PTM collaboration in any of those 3 services transitioning into visual meeting in Zoom, as they are often the preferred medium for that level.
As of October 1, 2018 Skype for business ceased to be include in Office 365. It seems that new customers can still sign up for S4B, but let’s just say Microsoft is strongly pushing for Teams.
Zoom believes that this provides opportunity for them.
Short version of the story, Zoom integrates with Teams much in the way it integrates with similar services such as Slack, allowing users to easily escalate from chat messaging to a Zoom video call. This means Zoom users will not have to change their video workflow or expectations, they simply continue to use Zoom as they always have. In other words, the shift from Skype to Teams could be less disruptive for Microsoft users leveraging Zoom for video, than for those who are using Skype for video. Zoom becomes your “stable video experience” or your “stable video partner” regardless of where Microsoft may take us next.
I would update my thoughts to add that at its core, Teams is a messaging/workflow solution with video capability, while Zoom is a full featured enterprise video meeting solution.
This distinction can be seen by how working teams generally use Skype/Teams compared to Zoom. Many enterprises who are standardized on MS Office and Skype, will typically use Skype for impromptu 1:1 video chats with internal employees, and have adopted Zoom for all scheduled meetings, large meetings, and meetings with externals. This puts things in a different perspective, as the question is not “which service to use?” but rather “why not use each service for its correct purpose?” Zoom’s existing interoperability with Skype and Teams removes the only potential barrier slowing down Microsoft users from choosing Zoom for the video part of their UC experience.
I think this adds some perspective to the questions of the competitive landscape and whether what Zoom is doing is “disruptive”.
Where this is leading me so far is that Zoom is not just (potentially) disruptive to other video conferencing platforms but that it’s also disruptive to the whole business meeting space more in general. Conferencing, meetings, training, webinars, etc. There is many options for video chatting but few if any have such a capability and functionality to completely replace the physical meeting experience. As we dig into this further I believe that’s where we will keep coming up with for what Zoom’s secret sauce is.