Microsoft wants Skype to coexist with Microsoft Teams

Laurent Giret

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Due to its meteoric rise since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft Teams has now almost twice as much daily active users (75 million) as Skype (40 million). This gap could grow even bigger with the upcoming launch of Microsoft Teams for consumers, with the business-focused app soon allowing users to add their personal Microsoft account to chat and collaborate with close friends and family.

Microsoft Teams is also getting new features faster than Skype, and it’s actually getting more of Skype’s killer features such as NDI support and Skype TX interoperability. While the Microsoft Teams/Skype federation has been delayed to the end of June, it seems pretty clear that Microsoft Teams is set to become Microsoft’s communication app of choice.

However, that’s not really how Jeff Teper, CVP of Microsoft 365 sees it. Speaking with VentureBeat, the exec said that Skype will coexist along Microsoft Teams, and the company will continue to invest in the app after it has been redesigned several times over the past couple of years.

“We’re continuing to invest in Skype,” Jeff Teper, CVP for Microsoft 365, told VentureBeat. “It’s growing through all this. You’ll see some new features. You’ll see Skype and Teams interoperate. As Teams lands with consumers and does more things, I think people will pick Teams. But we’re not going to be heavy-handed about this. People love Skype. And so we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves here.”

Teper also made a comparison with Facebook’s messaging strategy, with the Menlo Park company planning to make Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram talk to each other. “Teams has a very different flavor to it than Skype. It does overlap in the same need, just like Messenger and WhatsApp do from Facebook. And so we’ll have them interoperate, but we’re going to continue to show love to the Skype customer base,” Teper said.

Microsoft has undoubtedly dropped the ball with Skype in recent years, at a time when Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram all went to individually reach more than 1 billion users. It’s true that Skype still appeals to “prosumers,” but those users may well eventually make the switch to the more actively developed Microsoft Teams.