Inequal to the Task
As discussed frequently on this blog, updates to Teams have been pouring in over the last year. Teams will eventually replace Skype for Business, so it was big news at Microsoft’s Inspire partner show when it was announced that the two solutions had achieved feature parity.
The claim has raised more than a few surprised eyebrows in the community, as it’s not too difficult to find features large and small missing from the Teams’ current build. Standalone screen sharing, for example, jumps out as a major missing convenience, and roadmaps still schedule releases of features like group call pickup and location-based routing for Q4 of this year.
As reported by Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, a spokesperson for MS attempted to explain this puzzling discrepancy. “Teams has reached feature parity with Skype for Business in Office 365, delivering on our public roadmap for messaging, meetings and calling in the cloud… Feature parity means that all engineering work required to support the convergence roadmap is done and the features are rolling out to customers now.”
Couched in this statement is the implication that the actual user experience still doesn’t (and won’t for a while) match up between the two solutions. So while Microsoft’s definition might be fulfilled, the fact remains that most users will experience feature comparity rather than full parity for some time to come.
The good news is that while Teams is still growing, Skype for Business will still be around. Skype for Business Online currently has no known retirement date, and the new Skype for Business Server 2019 is due to enter public preview today. Even if features on Teams aren’t all there yet, organizations can stick with Skype for Business at least through the end of the year.
In their statement, Microsoft also mentioned another Teams public announcement and roadmap update to arrive later this month. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted.