Microsoft to integrate Skype for Business conversations into Office 365 user interface

Microsoft is making changes to its Office 365 interface, including the integration of Skype for Business conversations, for business customers over the next several months.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft will be rolling out over the next few months some tweaks to its Office 365 user interface.

The changes include the integration of Skype for Business conversations; the provision of quick access to notifications and help; and easier ways to discover new features from a set of persistent icons in the top right of the navigation bar.

There will be a new notifications pane for displaying real-time updates on system alerts, personal reminders and newly received mail and group likes. On the Skype for Business front, users will be able to start instant message, voice and/or video conversations from inside their inboxes, OneDrive for Business or calendar without having to switch out of an existing app.

The "Office 365 Web user interface (is becoming) more Yammer-like without Yammer," tweeted Directions on Microsoft analyst Rob Helm, in describing the coming changes.

(Microsoft is in the midst of repositioning Yammer as a "team collaboration" tool.)

According to a June 8 blog post, these new Office 365 UI features will come first to those in the First Release program "over the next few weeks." All Office 365 business customers will get these UI updates over "the next several months."

In related news, Microsoft is also making changes to Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) in Office 365 which will be available "soon" to Exchange ActiveSync applications.

Coming to the next version of EAS, which Microsoft is calling version 16, are improved calendar reliability, the inclusion of calendar attachments, and syncing of the drafts folder."Customers with their mailbox in Office 365 can take advantage of these new features when their favorite EAS client is updated," Microsoft officials said in a June 8 blog post.

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