MSFT Sunsetting Skype For Business

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.



We work with Office365, Skype, Teams, Slack, Zoom, etc daily at my job.

I think MSFT’s roadmap to use Teams and try to roll everything into that was mostly because of how popular Slack became. I think Slack is a real threat to O365 and this is their way to try and keep market share.

Now as Zoom has continued to grow and integrates so easily with Slack (as do so many other tools), Microsoft is really concerned.

These two companies are special. I want to own a piece of both of them. I’m less excited about Slack because of all the excitement around it, but I can easily see myself owning both (I probably will).

These two companies are literally changing the way work is done. Microsoft is not threatened as a company, but they are starting to have to compete with a lot of smaller companies that are chipping away at some of the capabilities that the Microsoft Office suite had such a lock on for so many years because it was the standard for enterprise.

Still is, but there is PLENTY of room for Slack and Zoom to grow. just gotta execute and the second half is obviously how crazy the price jumps at IPO. But I’ll probably buy half my position in both on day 1 regardless.

Will also probably take this as an opportunity to transition away from a few of my less confident positions (similar to Saul searching for his #10 pick or whatever it was last week). I think these are my answer.

  • Austin

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Thanks for that insight Austin. That’s kind of the feeling I got, is that MSFT saw trouble for one platform from Slack and another platform from Zoom and that the best choice for them was to have a better platform to go head to head with one of them while still retaining some capability to compete with the other. Skype just wasn’t going to fend off Zoom.

Will be interesting to see Slack’s numbers when they come out. But man, Zoom’s are impressive.

If you are already using zoom for other meetings, why in the world would you use another app for 1-1 meetings. There is a desktop app that lets you just click on a person in your contact list and “zoom call” them. The receiver gets a notice on their desktop and asks if they want to receive the call. It could not be easier.


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I think MSFT’s roadmap to use Teams and try to roll everything into that was mostly because of how popular Slack became. I think Slack is a real threat to O365 and this is their way to try and keep market share.

Good points, Austin. As a Microsoft shareholder I’ve wondered (and been disappointed) for years why the company didn’t just acquire Slack. Seemed to make a lot of sense on many levels and it’s not like they don’t have the cash to do it. They could’ve done so years ago for a couple billion or so.

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I’ve wondered the same.

I don’t know if it was overconfidence (we have the benefit of hindsight) that they had this on lock down, or not wanting to publicly acknowledge that they could be and are being disrupted which is what the acquisition would signal IMO.