back to article Official: Microsoft will take an axe to Skype for Business Online. Teams is your new normal

The equally loved and loathed Skype for Business Online has a date with the Grim Reaper as Microsoft prepares to finally axe the poor old thing. Posted on the blog page for Microsoft's competing Teams product, the announcement gives users plenty of time to prepare for their final farewells. The lights will go out on 31 July …

  1. tiggity Silver badge

    Never get too wedded to a particular product

    as it can have the plug pulled at any time

    MS have a long history of scrapping things without always having an easy migration path be it various Windows Phone OS versions, SilverLight, visual source safe etc.

    Not that other companies are any better, anyone who might have used Googles Wave or G+ for communications (being as we are talking about Skype, a communication tool) will have discovered how easily Google scrapped them (and according to rumours hangouts will expire soon)

    1. N2 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Never get too wedded to a particular product

      From Microsoft

      FTFY

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Never get too wedded to a particular product

        Tell that to people who used many Google products then killed, or to Apple Aperture users....

      2. Alan Bourke

        Re: Never get too wedded to a particular product

        Nah, MS are far, far from alone in doing this in the modern tech world. Google, Apple and the rest are just as bad.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Never get too wedded to a particular product

      This

      MS have a long history of scrapping things without always having an easy migration path

      this can easily apply to others so...

      Google/Alphabet have a long history of scrapping things without always having an easy migration path

      SOP in most of the IT Industry these days I'm afraid

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Never get too wedded to a particular product

        "SOP in most of the IT Industry these days I'm afraid"

        Has been the case in the IT industry (and others) as far back as I can remember - man and boy - and I have been retired for many years now. Several projects in my career were to keep a customer running after a drastic change by the IT supplier.

    3. hittitezombie

      Re: Never get too wedded to a particular product

      Good thing I still have an ICQ account.

    4. Naselus

      Re: Never get too wedded to a particular product

      "and according to rumours hangouts will expire soon"

      The question there is, will anyone notice?

  2. Potemkine! Silver badge

    I love when MS pushes new applications to users they will start to use, just to have these applications deprecated a little bit later. Installed by default, these new apps appear surreptitiously, users discover them and use them, and it's up to the IT to find a solution when the apps are discontinued. Thank you MS for making our life so miserable, and we pay for that :sigh:

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      Happy

      Thank you MS for making our life so miserable, and in gainful employment.

      There fixed that for you.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Out of the frying pan into the fire

    Slow memory-hogging Electron app, everything has to be done in one window, no global name list, chat search has been terrible since the beginning, you can't chat and share your desktop without starting a call, etc... etc...

    To think they could have just fixed the bugs in S4B.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Out of the frying pan into the fire

      Microsoft? Fix bugs? They do seem to prefer to burn it down and start again, don't they?

    2. Bod

      Re: Out of the frying pan into the fire

      It's slow and clunky but still better than S4B. Been waiting for that to die for ages.

    3. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: Out of the frying pan into the fire

      On the bright side, the browser version is identical to the dedicated app (and as clunky) so you don't have to install it, and us Linux lovers can also join in the suffering.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Out of the frying pan into the fire

        The browser version of Teams doesn't do conference calls, and in a properly-secured browser it won't render some types of content.

        Of course these can be seen as features, but it does mean that Teams victims may occasionally have to run the standalone client.

        Lync / SfB was pretty dreadful, but Teams - with its myriad awkwardnesses, its abysmal performance, its agonizingly horrible aesthetics - is worse, I think. We've been using it for months and I have yet to find a single thing I like about it.

        The teams I'm in moved from RocketChat (which wasn't great, but was usable) to Teams, and chat traffic dropped precipitously and shows no signs of recovering, so it doesn't appear I'm alone in that evaluation. In fact, if you ignore traffic from bots (CI results and the like), I'd guess it's dropped by at least an order of magnitude.

        1. admiraljkb

          Re: Out of the frying pan into the fire

          New features alert that happened sometime in the last couple of months - the browser version now does conference calls seemingly just fine now (including video) if running Chromium based browser. I didn't test screen share though.

          I agree with the message traffic drop. Our message traffic is still non-existent on Teams after 6 months compared to Slack which had all sorts of traffic going. Teams doesn't seem to foster team work. :)

  4. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    More hassle

    They just can't fucking help themselves, can they.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skype for Business

    Was a headache to use, not fit for purpose and could be described as at best, a slow and buggy mess to be avoided. I wouldn't recommend it to my enemies.

    Other readers' experiences may vary.

    1. }{amis}{ Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Skype for Business

      Compared to the old Avaya ip phone's it replaced here it's solid as a rock and easy to use, I would take it any day of the week over legacy telecoms systems.

      Either way, the end of life is a pain in the arse I've just forwarded this article onto my boss to ruin his day.

      1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

        Re: Skype for Business

        Avaya IP phones.

        Just DIY and set up your own VOIP system.

        Really it's not that hard to stay away from cloudy crap and buy off the shelf kit that works at least as good without having to be at the mercy of the 'solution provider'.

    2. MrBanana

      Re: Skype for Business

      "Was a headache to use, not fit for purpose and could be described as at best, a slow and buggy mess to be avoided"

      You've clearly not tried Teams yet then.

      1. yoganmahew

        Re: Skype for Business

        Indeed, Banana, it's bananas what's missing from Teams; just what's annoyed me today:

        - no chat archive

        - no order function in chat

        - linking to anything is terrible unless it's in Teams/Sharepoint

        - no pop-out chat

        - no drag/drop from directory to create custom groups

        - no integration with sharepoint groups

        - really weird notifications

        - poor outlook integration

        - no way to turn off spellcheck - really? MS? This is for technobabble people?

        - How TF do you get external contact to message to/from?

        And that's just today before the company ditches the also execrable Jabber and the awful Webex; business tooling is not just a race to the bottom, it's found the bottom and it's roaring up the arsehole of despicability, past the haemorrhoids of management indifference, aiming straight for the ulcer of not getting anything done.

        I do not think Teams is ready for release yet.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Skype for Business

          > business tooling is not just a race to the bottom, it's ...

          Wording appreciation pint ------>

        2. Raphael

          Re: Skype for Business

          and my personal bugbear. In a group chat especially, no indication of which team members have (a) recieved the message and (b) read the message.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Skype for Business

          Well there is integration with Sharepoint Groups as Teams is a Sharepoint Site in the background, however integrating with an existing Sharepoint Group is difficult. If only Groups in outlook had the features of a Shared Mailbox (e.g. categories, folders etc) then the integration between Outlook, Teams and Sharepoint could be handled if set up directly as an Outlook group from the beginning).

          External users can be added to teams as guest users (although the management of them isn't great) and you can set up meetings with external users quite easily but nowhere near as easy as Skype.

          My extra issues with Teams - really insecure Install. It is not possible to install it as a PC application (in Program Files) it installs itself as a User level program in Program Data (even there MSI installer, doesn't allow a PC install it is just a wrapper around the user install). Therefore circumventing good avenues used for Security and even advice from Microsoft on Security. Even Google Chrome allows an option to install it properly and disable user installs of it.

          You can't avoid cropping the video in Teams, like you could in Skype so widescreen webcam in Video Conferencing (like used in most meeting rooms) gets cropped as more users join. The video is designed specifically for single users joiners not 'teams' in one room.

          No pop-out anything, not just chat. You can't pop-out a document (without downloading it or editing it), you can't pop out a video conference attender and put them on another screen. In fact when you use Teams for a meeting, it works okay but you end up switching back and forth like mad bring up agendas,linked documents, VC attendees, project files etc.

          Teams doesn't have any printing ability, even via the website there is no print style sheets - just does a regular screen print.

          No separate permissions for subteams. If you have an IT team and then set up projects below that, all are members of every project.Set up a separate team for every project and you start having hundreds of teams.

          You can e-mail a 'team' at e the Team email address from anywhere but team members can't reply. Only other team members see any reply.

          Hey, it's agile it's getting improved (beta tested) continuously.

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Skype for Business

      It works for me.

      ...Teams, on the other hand, sucks golfballs through the proverbail garden hosepipe.

    4. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Skype for Business

      "Was a headache to use, not fit for purpose and could be described as at best, a slow and buggy mess to be avoided."

      Bloody hell, you could be describing Lotus Notes!

    5. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Skype for Business

      I agree. Not only was there "Skype for Business" but also "Skype for Meetings" which looked similar, but wasn't. Added to "Skype" you then could end up with 3 apps .. almost like having Egg and Spam, Egg, bacon and Spam, Egg, bacon, sausage and Spam and Spam, bacon, sausage and Spam.

      Then again, having endured the hell of morning standups over MS Lync I positively welcomed the introduction of Teams.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skype for Business

        So is "Skype for Business" different than "Skype for Business Online"? I hate when companies make similar names like that, makes Googling for information a nightmare. MS and SBS as one example.

        I'm currently working for a subsidiary of one of the big German auto makers. Corporate mandates Skype ("for Business" version). If it's going away, I'm just hoping we get *a* solution to replace it, instead of a collection of apps across different business units.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Skype for Business

          Yep.

          Skype for Meetings and Skype are also different.

          Sharepoint (on prem) is different to Sharepoint, and under the upcoming changes, Word is different to Word (formerly Word Online), Excel is different to Excel etc.

          Welcome to the new support nightmare, where very different products now have exactly the same name.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Skype for Business

            Which is also different to Skype for Business Lite (which is available for use on an E1 - have to find and download, compared to regular Skype for Business available for E3+ users.).

            Don't start on the two different Microsoft Accounts, some Microsoft sites will only accept a non-work Microsoft account others will accept either, others will only accepts a work Microsoft account. Often you have no way of really knowing until you try to log in.

          2. CFtheNonPartisan

            Re: Skype for Business

            MS learned how to use the same name for differing products from the US government. I have an adobe form from Treasury that has to be signed, sealed, and uploaded every year. They changed it 3 years ago and the old form no longer worked but the error was not very useful until one went back to the web site and found the small print about not reusing the 'old' downloaded form. The new form has the same download link, the same version, the same instructions, the same examples, and the same dates. I suggested they should update the version number or at least the date and would have spent my time better talking to a stone.

            It is life under overpaid overemployed geniuses.

    6. Piro

      Re: Skype for Business

      I take it you haven't used Teams, then, because it's far, far worse

      1. Evil_Goblin

        Re: Skype for Business

        Where I work, Skype for Business is so restricted and poorly implemented that Teams is an absolute dream in comparison...

      2. 9Rune5

        Re: Skype for Business

        I'm surprised at all the hate for Teams. My experience was that whatever short-coming I found in Teams was also present in SfB and then some...

        I'm using Slack these days. Still early days, so I can't say I've found any big features that I didn't already have in Teams. Plus I miss the dark theme.

        Ah, screw it. Whichever of these implements a good syntax highlighter (not just preformatted text) gets my vote.

  6. Velv Silver badge
    FAIL

    Teams

    It might just be the way Teams is being rolled out in my Organisation but Teams is terrible. Having been users of Communicator then Skype for over 10 years, Teams seems like a backward step. It's slow, it doesn't alert properly, it's not intuitive and seems to have variable functionality. I'm guessing this is a symptom of Agile(tm) development delivering a minimum viable product and "seeing where it goes".

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Teams

      I often feel a lot of people practice Agile development with an implied "fr" at the beginning...

    2. defiler Silver badge

      Re: Teams

      Here's a little heads-up from somebody who was asked to deploy it to a team of a few dozen users on a Citrix XenApp infrastructure. Teams is an unmitigated bag of shit.

      You know the bit where you lock down regular users so that they can only run proscribed applications, by installing them as an administrator and setting the Group Policy to permit execution from the "Program Files" folder? Yeah. Teams makes a copy of itself to run from the user's local profile.

      So in this dangerous, internet-connected, zero-day-threat world, Microsoft have released an application that insists on installing into a folder where the user has read/write access. Opening the door for all kinds of malware to just try dumping itself into the Teams folder and whip up some mayhem from there.

      Cardinal sin.

      Then the binaries were signed by a mixed grab-bag of certificates from just about everyone. So that pretty-much ruled that option out.

      We had a good long pore over it before I took it back to that team leader and explained how bad it was and what kind of a security liability it would be. She sent it back, refusing to implement it.

      That's the good kind of user.

      1. RancidOrange

        Re: Teams

        We are currently flirting with Teams and may be rolling it out to our customers - I'm guessing that based on your investigations, we should take a second look. Thank you for the heads up.

        BTW, I think you mean "prescribed" not "proscribed" (which is the opposite).

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Teams

          Um, yeah - that. :D

          /me hangs my head because I've been getting that wrong for a while.

          I'm guessing it can be appropriate in certain environments, but if you're using remote desktops (RDP or ICA) then you should be clearing out the profiles on logout, and that means Teams will have to copy a huge slug of crap back in again on each login. If you're hot-desking between desktop computers then each computer will have multiple copies of Teams shoved in the C drive wasting space.

          And in a corporate environment these days you simply should never be allowing users to run arbitrary applications from locations they can write to. It's bad.

          1. david 64

            Re: Teams

            "Teams will have to copy a huge slug of crap back in again on each login."

            Stop using 'legacy' profile management like Citrix UPM that copies hundreds of files, (or thousands in badly-configured environments) at each logon and log off - utilise your brand new shiny entitlement with MS, via your RDS CALs, to use FSLogix profile containers. There is no file copying at log on/off.

            It is free to you.

            We are currently mid-migration from UPM to FSLogix so this is the voice of experience :) You will wonder why you didn't do this sooner.

            Citrix have started doing a profile container too if you prefer to stay with Citrix for profile mgmt.

            Watch your logon times drop through the floor. It is quite a revelation :)

            Also you can use the FSLogix Office Data File Container to enable fully managed, roaming Outlook cached mode to your Xenapp users, so you can stop the PAIN of Outlook online mode, or the semi-pain of SMB-hosted OST files.

            Do it :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Teams

              Second this. FXLogix is fantastic. Been using Office Containers with some clients for a while now. Now we get the full suite, I will be using profile containers for all new clients and planning migrations for existing ones. App asking is also truly excellent. One major pain point we get is when clients want Adobe Reader and Adobe Pro on the same servers. What used to take hours of work customising the MSI and pushing out settings via GPO is now a few minutes of work masking Adobe Pro.

      2. david 64

        Re: Teams

        I don't disagree with you but our world is changing, and the expectations of, for example, non-persistent VDI environments are different now than they were two years ago. Today's users need to perceive a more flexible environment, not the rigid IT delivery of the 00's - if we don't provide them with what they need they go 'shadow' on us.

        #quote: "There's no such thing as Shadow IT - only your users telling you what they need.".

        We also use Teams on XenApp - it (like other modern software) just requires a different way of managing it. We use for example FSLogix to containerise and roam while maintaining performance, and use Application Control (in our case Appsense) to permit\deny anything from anywhere. Trusted Ownership FTW.

        Teams, and it's ilk (eg. Squirrel-based installers into the user profile) - are here, and here to stay so we need to adjust how we deliver. A 'bag of shit' it may be now, but it won't be long before everyone wants\needs it and we as IT need to have an answer other than 'No' - otherwise: GOTO #quote.

        IMHO. YMMV. et al.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Teams

          Installing into the user profile is and always was a kludge and a security hole you could drive a bus through (an executable or DLL can easily be overwritten). As Teams' roadmap is driven by things like memes and emoticons, the chances of any changes so that installation works as it should before S4B's EOL are non-existent.

        2. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Teams

          I get where you're coming from, David, but my job is not to give users what they want. My job is to make sure the data is safe. Even if it's not online, it has to be safe first and foremost.

          Whilst I endeavour to give users the tools they want (as well as the ones they need) to do their jobs, I first of all have to ensure the security of the system they're using. That's because "I'm sorry - this tool is not up to the job" is easier for them to swallow than "a cryptovirus has wiped out all of your files and I can only restore the ones you saved in the places I told you to save them, and then only up to the point that they started to run amok, and then it'll take days to do".

          Sure there are shitty applications that install themselves into the user's profile (hell, Chrome used to be one of them). But Microsoft absolutely, positively, definitely should never be releasing an application that operates in this manner.

          Never ever.

          1. david 64

            Re: Teams

            Out of interest, what are your issues with applications in the user's profile?

            (Like most reg readers I've worked in IT a long time so I'm familiar with many of the classic responses to that question). eg.

            *Users can download and install apps themselves : Use application control, now they can't.

            *Profile bloat : all VDI shops use a profile management solution that helps you manage profile bloat, be it UPM, UEM, FSLogix etc.

            *Files can be downloaded and overwrite genuine files : use application control, now they can't.

            The profile is just 'a piece of disk', but it happens to be one that roams with the user. Permissions aren't hugely relevant because - application control. If you view the 'user profile' as an area where the user has full read\write, unmanaged access to save and execute whatever they want, then sure I can see the problem.

            Application control is the key - doesn't matter what NTFS permissions there are, or what process is trying to do the reading\writing - application control has a vice-like grip on it all. I'm not trying to say it is a utopia, it needs careful thought and implementation (like the rest of our IT systems).

            Alternatives are:

            1. Say NO to these apps your users\business needs, because 'SECURITY'.

            2. Use your weight with the application vendors to have them see the 'error of their ways' and change the way they package and deploy their applications.

            Or - accept it, you can't control what business critical (or non-critical) app your users will need next week, or how it is packaged\delivered, but you can ensure you have an IT environment that is capable of dealing with it whatever it may be.

            I suppose different approaches to the same problem.

            None of us want to work in an IT team that just says 'No' to everything all the time, like we did in the 90's/00's. We have technology these days that should enable us to say 'Yes!' a lot more now :) Or- maybe 'Yes!, but......'.

            The real reason I think for the move away from MSI (VSTOR, C2R, Squirrel etc.) is WVD, full-on user virtualisation in Azure (hence FSLogix purchase), flexibility for software deployment on-the-fly, no reboots, self-updating apps etc. Sounds good right if we can manage it effectively!

            1. defiler Silver badge

              Re: Teams

              Out of interest, what are your issues with applications in the user's profile?

              *Users can download and install apps themselves : Use application control, now they can't.

              But if they can't install the application themselves then how does it get into their profile? They can't change the HKLM registry, but having them able to download an executable (knowingly or not) and run it from within their profile folders should simply be a no-no.

              *Profile bloat : all VDI shops use a profile management solution that helps you manage profile bloat, be it UPM, UEM, FSLogix etc.

              We don't suffer profile bloat - documents, desktop, downloads etc etc are subject to folder redirection, so it's not a problem. There's the actual profile itself, but it's miniscule. ApplicationData\Local is scrubbed on each login.

              *Files can be downloaded and overwrite genuine files : use application control, now they can't.

              But it's just 'a piece of disk', so if the user has permissions to write to the files in there, they have the permissions to write over the files with something else, possibly something malicious.

              My issue is that it's an area of disk that something, anything, running as that user could potentially place a malicious executable into and it could be run. The mechanism for that running could be one of a dozen things. We have users that demand Flash Player, Adobe Reader etc, and they're full of holes. Could be a browser exploit that sneaked past the last browser update and past the web filter. Could be a macro in a document (yes we have users whose banks send out macro-enabled MS Office files, so that has to be on). Could be anything we've not thought about - doubtless there are thousands of things we've not considered. But we're bending as far as we reasonably can with the security of the applications, with the safety net that if something manages to break through it can't 'just run' without a massive amount of additional effort.

              Not having a Software Restriction Policy in place to prevent users executing arbitrary applications is, in my opinion, foolish. And for the company that built the Software Restriction Policy framework (Microsoft) to deliberately release an application which demands that this safety net is disabled is ludicrous, when it could have been written in a different fashion.

              I'm honestly unfamiliar with FSLogix - I'll have to have a look at that. I'm sure I've brushed against it from time to time but nothing stuck! But as I say, user profiles isn't something we have an issue with. Users downloading Angry IP Scanner, PuTTY, iTunes, Steam etc is.

              1. david 64

                Re: Teams

                Sure I get you. I think we are mostly on the same page :)

                Application control (from whichever vendor, we happen to use Appsense but there are others) is an absolute base requirement these days as you say. Application control shuts the door on all your concerns.

                eg. 'a user downloading a file and running it from their profile'. The user doesn't download a file - a process does, running as the user (or another user). So you use application control to prevent, say, chrome.exe from writing to <wherever>, or excel.exe, or whatever. Why should chrome.exe get to write to the Documents folder? Or the Appdata\Local\<anything-other-than-Google-subfolders> folder?

                Then to combat a user running a piece of code they downloaded (or side-loaded somehow) - application control will stop that. Why should the user be able to run any old code? As you say - they shouldn't. So we don't let them right? You've alluded to certificate-based validation of exes which is one way. Say they want Teams - we let them download and run Teams, and teams only, and then we let the teams.exe process run the meeting-addins, etc. and so on and so forth. We configure it tight.

                Obviously i'm simplifying things as you know :)

                I think we are on the same page.

                Just my point is it really doesn't make any difference which part of the disk it is downloading to and running from, when an application control product is in control. Thus - who cares how Teams\Slack\Whatever installs - we just manage it with application control, and roam it and it's personalisation data around a server farm with UPM\FSL. Happy users.

                I wish I had bloody shares in an application control company the amount i'm bleeting on about this :)

      3. Carl Williams

        Re: Teams

        We are just about to go through this too, but after finding out Onedrive for business used the same model we found MS have released new clients for both that install in the machine context (well this may only be visible to certain customers on the advanced track) so it gets around this little nightmare. We'll be deploying this into our pre-prod with the HDX Realtime pack and also trialling FSlogix (now MS) Office cache too.

        Having access to both teams and SfB on my desktop personally I'll mourn the death of Skype when we kill it here. It's not been perfect but its better than the Cisco software we used to have.

        1. david 64

          Re: Teams

          Unfortunately, don’t be fooled by the ‘machine-wide installers’ that they use. All these do is drop the (mostly) same old installer in Program Files on your master image, which is then run by end users who log on. When run by each user at logon, it just installs the product into the user profile the same way the standalone installer does.

          So no different but an easier way to deploy the same tool the same way to users of golden VDI images. End result is the same.

      4. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Teams

        So let me get this straight - in the windows security world installing a globally accessable program with admin/root permissions is a Good Thing but installing a local user copy is a Bad Thing? Christ, no wonder Windows Security is an oxymoron, its a feckin Alice In Wonderland setup.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Teams

          It is on any OS where you want the machine locked down to certain apps and you don't want the apps to be exported by malware overwriting their binaries.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Teams

            And by exported I of course mean exploited.

          2. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Teams

            No, it really isnt. In unix if you dont want a binary overwritten you just remove write permissions to the directory and use groups to limit execution. Perhaps these 1970s concepts are too advanced for Windows.

      5. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Teams

        So you have a choice: your favourite Agile app (JIRA?) coupled with Slack/Skype, WebEx/Zoom and various associated, Zeplin etc. Or use Teams with component integrations.

        Of course WebEx is such a joy to use, seconded only by the experience of daily stand ups using Zoom ...

        1. yoganmahew

          Re: Teams

          Wait now, you have to add Rally on top of that for tedious tracking, CA/PPM to avoid budgetary incontinency, a half dozen different tools for leave/timecard/HR payroll, SNOW for a ccompletely different form of event/incident/change/workflow tracking.

          Hours and hours of form filling and not a line of code or a test case in sight.

      6. 9Rune5

        Re: Teams

        that insists on installing into a folder where the user has read/write access.

        A properly signed executable poses a security risk..?

        Are you saying that your users were only able to run pre-approved executables prior to installing Teams? (if the malware has gained enough privs to be able to write to a user's directory, then it is pretty much game over already as far as that user is concerned. Being able to overwrite an executable within doesn't gain further access -- they're already inside the perimeter at this point!)

        Where I work we struggle rolling out our application, because supplying it as a .msi installer that various organizations can roll out doesn't work. Because then they need months to prepare and even then are snippy about it. So we have been contemplating going the clickonce-route by simply staying within the user's own folders and run from there.

        One man's salvation is another man's poison I guess.

        If you are still concerned, why don't you set a policy that only allows running signed executables from vendors that you trust? That way, if somebody violates teams.exe, the tampered executable will no longer launch.

    3. Jonathon Desmond

      Re: Teams

      "...it doesn't alert properly..."

      Well they *are* trying to sell it as a Slack competitor, so feature parity is important!

  7. Kevin Johnston

    Compliance

    So, have they fixed the minor issue around deleting chats to ensure it is compliant with GDPR? Last I looked there were Admins all round Europe tearing their hair out at the response from the MS 'Support' people saying that not having a delete function was planned and would not be changed.

  8. SeanEllis

    Bow down and accept the One True UI

    What have the following products in common? Skype, Skype for Business, Teams? Answer - they all know what you want better than you do.

    There is One True UI. Microsoft knows what the minimum window resolution you need is. It's the same whether you're running on a 4K monitor or an old 1280x1024. Microsofts know what notifications you need. It's the same whether it's from the "Lunchtime chat and LOLz" group or the "EMERGENCY COMMS READ THIS OR YOU'RE FIRED" group. Microsoft knows which alert sounds you need. They're the same whether you're working in a near-silent office full of easily-startled C programmers, or in a warehouse with fork lifts thundering past. And Microsoft knows the way you work. No need for advanced and confusing options like setting different colors on different groups to aid visual memory, or moving that conversation which went off-topic into a different group. Or choosing a font which is easier to read because you have dyslexia.

    It reminds me of the episode of The Simpsons where new uncomfortable "posture-iffic" chairs are delivered to the school. The kids complain, but the teacher explains that eventually their spines will change shape.

    Skype 6 had a nice compact chat UI, where you could pop out a chat and see a decent amount of text in a small window. Skype 7 bloated the UI and decreased the information density. People who use Skype for serious work complained - loudly. So Microsoft took heed of their concerns and made Skype 8 even bigger, removed multi-window mode, dumped your chat history, and removed almost all of the useful configuration options. Every downgrade is hailed as an upgrade. Never mind the further reductions in core functionality - enjoy the new pink unicorn emojis!

    Skype for Business chat has a bunch of similar problems. Teams has them in spades. Want a compact UI? No chance.

    UI designers: No options is not an option.

    The other thing they have in common is the abysmal customer service. "We want your feedback!" they say. They tempt you to contribute to the UserVoice forums. Visit, and take a look at what happens. Simple UI options with thousands of votes and zero feedback. Users prototyping workarounds in hours for features that have been left unimplemented for literally years. No feedback, or worse, feedback that goes backwards: "We're working on it" becomes "We're rolling out tests!" to "We're scoping the feature" to "What was it you wanted again?" over the course of 2 years. The answer to the latter is usually "What we already had in the previous version."

    On the gripping hand, the answer to all of the above problems is to find another product to use.

    1. RancidOrange

      Re: Bow down and accept the One True UI

      There are 3 things that really really bug me about Microsoft:

      1. Adverts in a product I have paid for (eg Windows 10 Pro). Just don't do this.

      2. Two completely different sets of credentials using the same email address depending on which part of Microsoft I need to login to (O365, anyone?).

      3. Calling applications almost the same name with the addition of "for Business" when they are completely unrelated and cause endless confusion for users (eg OneDrive and OneDrive for Business).

      Moving SfB into Teams at least reduces the problems associated with item 3.

    2. fwthinks

      Re: Bow down and accept the One True UI

      For years there has been the slow decline in what I would consider enterprise level applications. developers (or more likely managers) do not seem to know the difference between an app for a home desktop/tablet and one that needs to be deployed to thousands of users or deployed on critical central servers.

      Its frustrating to think about the amount of times I have complained to vendors about simple issues such as forcing installation to specific folders, lack of ability to integrate with automation tooling or making assumptions on what features to enable without providing options to disable them.

      Another common issue is this current view that products need a fast release schedule or create a new replacement from the ground up (i.e. teams & Skype for business). In a complex enterprise, it can take months/years to get platforms to a stable place. In what world does Microsoft (and others) believe they are creating any business value by forcing change for the sake of it. It is obviously the need to generate revenue driving this, but I cannot see how this will provide a long term benefit. If the software becomes to unstable or requires too much effort to keep updating, businesses will simply move to different products. The old model for Microsoft was application inertia - for example people use Office for years and it worked for them. So there was a lot of resistance to change. If you force people to change UI's / Apps too often, nobody will care anymore what vendor software you use.

      Maybe I shouldn't complain, all this crap software is keeping me in a job until I retire.

  9. Buzzword

    Teams (and Slack etc.) have a terrible signal-to-noise ratio

    Skype for Business is primarily a one-to-one instant messaging tool. When the little popup appears telling you there's a message, you know it's directed at you and is personally relevant.

    Teams is a group chat tool, where you hear a cacophony of voices shouting over each other. It has all the problems of meeting rooms, only worse because it never ends. Meeting attendees are desperate to show off, so there's a lot of redundant noise. You have to sift through the entire conversation, even if only 5% is relevant to you. Just as you can spend your whole day in meetings if you're not careful, it's easy to spend hours on Slack or Teams channels, poring through other people's never-ending stream of consciousness.

    I honestly can't understand how any of the Teams / Slack / Mattermost / etc. tools were ever considered to be a productive use of time.

    1. Bod

      Re: Teams (and Slack etc.) have a terrible signal-to-noise ratio

      On the other hand the most annoying thing about S4B is lack of conversation history in the same window once you've closed it and worse if connection drops, and hideous of there's more than one of you. Offline, it's in emails itself and god help you trying to find it in the app.

      Teams, you could just not join the team chat. Stick to one to one.

      Just a shame the Teams app is so clunky.

      1. Buzzword

        Re: lack of conversation history

        Actually, there is conversation history in Skype for Business. Open the main window, click on the Clock icon at the top ("Conversations"), then right-click on a conversation and select "Continue Conversation".

        Granted it's terribly unintuitive; I only discovered it while writing this reply.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Teams (and Slack etc.) have a terrible signal-to-noise ratio

      I only ever receive SfB messages when it falls back to email. I simply do not read them any other way. The popup is intrusive (i.e. disabled). Teams can't be bothered to stayed logged in, so I refuse to bother with that either. None of this is distinguishable from normal operation, so that's a win.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: "Fall Creators Update"

    The fact that Teams doesn't honour either your Windows or Office locale settings means that it's US dates all the way. The embedded SharePoint doesn't even respect the Teams date/timezone settings you set (and you have to fix them for every single Team you create), requiring some deep digging around in the site settings to make changes.

    I suppose it's so that when you place a support call to the US they don't get confused by pesky details of the rest of the world having different timezones and date orderings.

    1. SeanEllis

      Re: "Fall Creators Update"

      The "format date using user's locale" functionality is a single function call in the Windows API.

      But I forgot. Their apps are all web frameworks and Javascript these days. That's probably why it so compli... no, wait. That's a single function call too.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "Fall Creators Update"

        Hell, it's a single call in the Standard C Library (ISO 9899-1999 7.23.3.5). You can do it portably in any program that supports calling the C library.

        It's a single method invocation in standard Javascript, too (ECMA 262 5.1 15.9.5.6).

        There's no excuse for Teams not formatting dates according to the current locale. It's either complete incompetence or utter arrogance.

        1. nematoad Silver badge

          Re: "Fall Creators Update"

          Having suffered with the way Microsoft has operated over the years I'd go with the arrogance option.

  11. tempemeaty

    If Microsoft is King...

    The king has no clothes.

  12. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Stop

    What replacements?

    "The service began life as Office Communicator in 2007 before being replaced by Lync 2010. Lync was stomped on by Skype for Business in 2015 and now here we are"

    Every single bleeding product here is simply renamed/rebranded. Every version has been the same with simple reskinning and breaking of a function which worked in the earlier release. Every version I have also seen the executable is called the old product, for example Skype for Business on this machine is Lync.exe, likewise when we was running Lync the executable was communicator.exe

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    S4B was not that bad

    S4B was not perfect, but not so bad as some make it be.

    The IM part was good, particularly the notifications part. Voice was so-so, with quite some hiccups.

    Video, I don't know, probably same as voice. Screen sharing was good overall.

    And since only IM and screen sharing are really critical nowadays, voice being important also, in the enterprise world, it makes S4B OK/good.

    Now, I don't know for teams, but some companies (incl. mine) have moved away from S4B towards "innovative" solutions that can't even do IM correctly. It really sucks, believe me, when you're pinging 12 colleagues via IM and none of them notice !

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Huw D Silver badge

    One of the suckiest things about teams is it doesn't support multiple accounts at the same time.

  15. Anne-Lise Pasch

    Hefty capital investment

    Have to throw all our Yealink skype for business phones in the bin now.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SkypefB or Teams

    "You can either have the shit sandwich or the turd burger. The choice is yours."

  17. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Force-marched to Teams

    Our IT folks are already force-marching us to Teams. Without the Skype for Business (fka Lync) marked for extinction, we had to go to something else. I wish it wasn't Teams, though. I really don't like it. And the fact that there's no on-prem option makes it even worse.

    I wonder if they'll eventually do the same to Exchange.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Force-marched to Teams

      "I wonder if they'll eventually do the same to Exchange."

      Christ I really hope so.

      1. Piro

        Re: Force-marched to Teams

        Yeah, because Office 365 is so responsive and reliable compared to an on-prem Exchange server

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Force-marched to Teams

          "Yeah, because Office 365 is so responsive and reliable compared to an on-prem Exchange server"

          Perhaps you have not come across so many broken Exchange servers as me - and been caught in as many nightmare upgrade scenarios.

          For me, its an off-premise managed email service every time.

    2. cookieMonster
      Happy

      Re: Force-marched to Teams

      Look on the bright side, when it's down (and it will be, often) it's not your fault.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Force-marched to Teams

      There are other options. Some might even be able to run on windows for those in a windoze only shop.

  18. JohnFen Silver badge

    In all fairness

    My employer has forced us all into the O365 dystopia, complete with requiring the use of Teams.

    Lord, how I hate Teams. That said, I do hate it a little less than Skype for Business, so this is good? I guess?

    1. Jedipadawan

      Re: In all fairness

      >"My employer has forced us all into the O365 dystopia,..."

      I appreciate the pain. I never got over being moved to Vista and the ribbon in my previous employment. :-)

      I managed to resolve this kind of problem by:

      1) Moving out to SE Asia.

      2) Changing my career

      3) Eventually setting up my own business

      4) Going all in with Linux (KDE)

      Best career decisions ever. Though I grant they are not for everyone. :-D

      Oh... and..

      4a) Going all in with anime as well.

      [Yes, teasing...]

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Nothing to worry about

    Just updated my CV to feature mahoosive expertise in bringing SfBO back on-premise to Skype Server 2019, plus right-clouding Exchange and SharePoint to on-premise data centres. And added £150/day to my rate card. Chuckle, chuckle.

  20. johnnyblaze

    One of the major risks of moving to the cloud - the provider can terminate features at any time and force you in a direction you may not want, but might not have any choice over. If MS want everyone on Teams - whether they like or want it or not - that's what they'll do. If that includes a price increase - you'll probably have to suck it up. They're in control - not you.

    One of the big advantages of on-prem services - you're in control. You can stay with a system for as long as you want, even when it's out of support if necessary (not ideal, but sometimes necessary).

  21. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge
    Coat

    "As decapitation approaches..."

    You meant defenestration, didn't you?

    1. RancidOrange

      Re: "As decapitation approaches..."

      Upvote for terrific Winodws pun.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    FFS MSFT!

    I predict a migration to Riot

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah..

    I haven't used Skype since MS bought it. As soon as it was sold I fold it and wave bye bye and so many people I know did the same. It's like it never existed. MS is famous about buying a good idea from someone else and destroying it. They start by chopping things up and controlling every tiny detail until they suffocate it and making it different thing underneath even if it looks the same on the outside. They got rid of p2p so any government can get any info they want. They are able to spy on any account. The best security connectivity out there is Signal. How long will that last? Who knows..the world and tech move very fast. Today's freedom might be tomorrow's incarceration.

    1. Jedipadawan

      Re: Yeah..

      >"They got rid of p2p so any government can get any info they want."

      One of the reasons Microsoft got so rich and is currently making more money now than it ever has... is due to it's eager snuggling up to just about every Govt in the world that, as Governments an intelligence agencies always want, to have total access to user data.

      Wikileaks gave details on the arrangements the NSA made with Microsoft whereby they would INTRODUCE security holes and pass the details on how to exploit to the NSA. When the hole was found and reported by a user Microsoft woud release the update which fixed that hole AND CREATED ANOTHER after the means to exploit were passe onto the NSA. CIA et al!

      So every app under Microsoft's control will have data access built in eventually. It's now a requirement of their operation and pat of the business model that is not talked about.

      Linux is better for obvious but the same agencies doing deals with Microsoft have also got the chip manufacturers building in intelligence hacking exploits into the HARDWARE BEFORE BOOT! Impossible to work around.

      So you cannot stop the spying now. Personal security is dead. I am waiting for the day proper, affordable, ARM laptops with real hard drives become available that I can put Linux on. The first expensive renderings have appeared but the day I want to come still looks far off. For now, you cannot escape the spying - not from the intelligence agencies. All of Big Tech has been bought out.

      [Aside: Now I have been out of the UK for more than 5 years MI6 have probably ceased tracking me specially but they do hunt down everyone how is out of the country for more than six months. If they stay away for than 5 years they are deemed no longer of interest as it is assumed they are not coming back. If such do end up returning they are spied on until the day they die. I know several ex-pats who had spooks on their case until the day they died. One harmless old lady picked up the phone to hear her last telephone conversation played back to her! MI5 had the tape machine playing for some reason. Back in the 80's that was. Documents still disappear from her house and things get moved around. She's totally sane and solid as a rock and I know others who returned to find strange things kept happening.

      So, I repeat for MI6 - it's OK, I am NOT coming back!!!

      The spooks spy more than people dream off.]

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Yeah..

        > Documents still disappear from her house and things get moved around.

        If that is by the spooks, they are pretty incompetent. I read somewhere (years back, forget the source) that the STASI used to take lots of Polaroids of the home they were riffling. Both to document, and to help them ensure every object is put back precisely where it was when they entered. Doing the same is even easier now with digital cameras.

        1. Jedipadawan

          Re: Yeah..

          I agree the spooks could do it better and things could be photographed. Given the GCHQ 'KARMA POLICE' survallience system such visits are kinda redundant anyway.

          So I think it's actually a form of intimidation mind to show "we're watching and we have the power." One guy who spent years in Poland ended up mentally ill obsessing about the surveillance and he WAS a crazy... but I did find out that some of his paranoia was justified when I was given warnings by lawyers and I managed to read MI5 and 6's clear policies regarding surveillance of ex-ex-pats! Among many in the profession the "6 months - 5 years - forever" policy is not unknown.

          Then I had ex-ex pats, knowing I was heading out, who told me their tales. "They never stop checking up on you if you return" I was warned. I wonder if MIx just like messing with people's minds a bit, though. I mean, a 85 year old Traditional Catholic who once resided in WEST Germany in the 1970's is unlikely to be sleeper, as one example, and the documents that vanish could be photographed so why take them? Answer: best guess is quiet intimidation. I mean, those security cameras everywhere do not stop actually crime! I know, my wife was assaulted twice in the UK in 18 months where we discovered that the security cameras were no use whatsoever. "Don't have the resolution." That and the police could not be bothered.

          As another semi-aside, and why paranoia is justified:

          I was working for a company developing LIMS systems for the NHS when Tony Blair implemented his 'NHS spine project' that was a total 'failure.' Now, I hasten to add that we were not involved in the development of the 'Spine' at all. We were just tasked with the process of feeding the LIMS data to it. Which in itself tells a lot about the UK Govt's view on (ha ha) private data.

          Anyway, we were told by those associated with the Spine that it was a cover. The money being spent was INSANE!!! We were asking each other at work whether the NHS was buying solid gold PCs. The servers being built were an order of magnitude too large for simple text/JPG store of patient data. The theory was that the Govt was prepping for the National ID card that was all the rage at the time.

          Me, in my cynicism, I quietly figured the National ID card was too obvious and the Spine was a central database for the spying on the general public a la the USSR that the UK seemed hell bent on emulating.

          Well, lo and behold, after the 'failure' of the NHS spine with all the 'wasted money' it turns out the real project was the GCHQ 'KARMA POLICE' private data sucking system system which is STILL in operation today despite even the EU saying it goes too far and being declared illegal. Which makes it hard not to be paranoid... Note the project was started in 1998 when we were tasked with feeding the monster.

          I now live in a land in which such surveillance is impossible, if only because the infrastructure and skills are not in place. The anti-terrorism unit here is really good, mind. Far better the UK despite the total storage of everything. How strange. I am sure that MI6 do an occasional automated scan of my laptop and comms from time to time, mind.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Big Brother

            Watch the skies! They're coming!

            Here in Scotland, we are all employed by Och Aye 5 to report on yon English!

        2. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Yeah..

          The Stasi also liked to deliberately rearrange things to drive dissenters insane. Different tactics strokes for different victims folks, after all.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Yeah..

        "So you cannot stop the spying now. Personal security is dead."

        That's seriously overstating the case. It would be more accurate to say that it requires greater effort to maintain security than ever before -- but you can have a meaningful amount of security if you don't mind putting the constant work into it.

  24. Robert E A Harvey

    There are altertnatives

    Take "circuit". Developed by Siemens, and spun off to Atos (boo.) https://unify.com/en/solutions/team-collaboration - it is quite tolerable, and I have almost begun enjoying using it.

    I was quite surprised by how good monday.com was, and it is certainly not a clone of other things.

  25. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Coat

    E......

    Extinguish?

  26. hittitezombie

    Cannot wait

    Skype for Business makes my blood boil because it is simply crap. I can't wait for it to be turned off.

    If only everyone moved to Slack.

  27. The Boojum
    Facepalm

    Another interesting Teams use case

    As a Knowledgebase. Without a search facility.

    One piece of advice I found was to access Teams through a browser because that way you could at least use the browser's search.

  28. aberglas

    Give every user their own IM app

    There's so many incompatible ones out there it should not be difficult.

    Then they will not be able to communicate with each other. And so become more productive.

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