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Launch of Microsoft Teams, consumer Skype integration set for Q1

Integration between Microsoft Teams and consumer Skype is now scheduled to launch sometime in the first quarter. Previously, the vendor said it would go live this month.

Microsoft appeared to delay again the integration between Microsoft Teams and the consumer version of Skype. The company now plans to release the feature sometime between now and March, after previously saying it would go live this month.

On Tuesday, Microsoft updated its roadmap to indicate the feature would launch in the second quarter. But on Friday the vendor changed its schedule again to say the feature would be available in the first quarter. The integration had been slated for a January release since late last year.

The integration will let users of Teams and consumer Skype message and call one another. Skype for Business has offered interoperability with consumer Skype for years. Many organizations rely on the feature to communicate with external contacts.

The lack of integration with consumer Skype underscores that Teams is still missing features available in Skype for Business, Raúl Castañón-Martinez, analyst at 451 Research, said. The feature gap persists despite Microsoft declaring in 2018 that the two apps had achieved feature parity.

Castañón-Martinez found it odd that Microsoft would push Skype for Business customers to upgrade to Teams yet fail to make it equal to the older application. "It seems like this consumer Skype integration should be a top priority for Microsoft," he said.

A Microsoft representative declined to comment on what prompted the delay.

Microsoft is trailing competitors when it comes to enabling external collaboration within Teams, Castañón-Martinez said.

Although it supports one-to-one chats across company boundaries, Teams does not give organizations the ability to create common groups or channels for collaborating with external users. Slack supports such a setup through a feature called shared channels. 

More than 3,000 people have endorsed a request for consumer Skype integration on Microsoft's user feedback website for Teams. Microsoft once said the feature could launch as soon as the second quarter of 2018 but shelved the item in May 2018 because of a "priority shift."

Microsoft has struggled to meet deadlines for launching Teams features in the past. Last year, the company delayed the launch of private channels in Teams by roughly two months. The postponement came after users had been demanding the feature for more than two years.

The company has scheduled more than two dozen additional items on its roadmap for Teams. Meanwhile, the company has yet to announce release dates for several other features in high demand by users. Those include accessing Office 365 group calendars in Teams and the ability to archive channels.

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