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Microsoft Teams and Skype users can now chat together

Microsoft has completed rolling out Teams/Skype interoperability, allowing users of one app to collaborate with users on the other.

Microsoft Teams: A cheat sheet

Communicating across Microsoft apps gets a little easier today as the company finishes making Teams and Skype interoperable. This means Teams users can now chat and call with Skype users, and vice versa.

Microsoft announced it would link up its two leading communication apps in May. The move makes sense, given that many smaller businesses still use Skype for Consumer as their main communication tool for team catch-ups, interviews and communicating with clients more generally.

SEE: Microsoft Teams: How-to guide

The interoperability is also designed to support businesses that have moved to Microsoft Teams, the company said at the time.

Teams or Skype users wanting to collaborate together directly – whether though, message, call or video chat – can now do so.

"We know there is a large ecosystem of small and medium businesses using Skype as their collaboration tool," Microsoft said in an announcement on its Teams community page.

"Many of our Microsoft 365 customers value being able to do business with this ecosystem. Scenarios such as securely communicating with vendors, suppliers, contractors, project managers and HR interviews are just some of the reasons why this is important."

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Starting a chat from Teams is as easy as inviting a Skype user from the search bar.

Image: Microsoft

No doubt boosted by an increase in home working, usage of Skype is growing – Microsoft said that thousands of messages were being sent from the app every day. In March, the company reported that its daily Skype user based had surged to 40 million, a 70% increase from the month previous. Teams' customer base is also on the up, hitting 44m daily users as of March.

From Teams, the process for starting a chat with a colleague on Skype is as simple as inviting them from the search bar. The Skype user can accept the request and from there they can chat, call or share video to their heart's content. If they don't feel like chatting, Skype users can just as easily block the request.

SEE: Office 365: A guide for tech and business leaders (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The process works in a similar fashion the other way around: Skype users can send a request to connect with Teams users, who will be advised that an external user wishes to start a chat with them, which they can accept or block.

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Once users are connected, they can chat easily back and forth.

Image: Microsoft

Requests can also be blocked at admin-level in Teams if necessary: within the admin center, setting the external access switches to 'Off' can block all Skype users from communicating with Teams users, or likewise, prevent Teams users communicating with individuals on Skype. Once connected, all chats are encrypted at rest and in transit.

Teams/Skype interoperability is supported on Android and iOS devices, Windows, and Mac. Microsoft recommends Skype customers use 8.58 for the best experience. Microsoft is also aiming to roll out support for Teams-certified IP phones by the end of June.

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