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Microsoft overhauls calling interface in Teams

Microsoft has started rolling out a redesigned calling interface in Teams that lets customers access voicemail, contacts and more from a single screen.

Microsoft has redesigned the calling interface within Teams to let customers access voicemail, contacts and other options from a single location.

The company introduced the new calling interface this week and said it would roll out the redesign over the next few months. Along with voicemail and contacts, Teams customers will be able to access call history, settings and the dial pad.

Microsoft has improved the interface to make it easier for people to make calls from Teams without leaving the collaboration app.

Additional new features to the Teams calling service include the ability to merge calls, identify incoming spam and identify callers. Subscribers also will be able to place and answer calls using the CarPlay technology built into many cars.

Microsoft made it easier for Teams users to share call recordings and transcripts, and added support for its file-sharing apps OneDrive and SharePoint. Before, the softphone service supported storing only in Microsoft's video-sharing app Stream.

Microsoft Teams calling
Teams customers can access the dial pad and other calling features from a single location.

In early 2021, Teams subscribers will have the option of transferring calls from their mobile devices to a desktop. Microsoft will also let customers switch to a low-data mode to reduce the quality of a video call to accommodate a slow internet connection.

Microsoft is bolstering calling in Teams as it phases out Skype for Business Online. Microsoft plans to discontinue Skype on July 31, and migrate its subscribers to Teams. The collaboration app has become the company's flagship for online chat, calling and video conferencing.

The migration does not apply to companies using the on-premises Skype for Business Server. However, Microsoft has stopped feature upgrades and plans to end maintenance support by the end of 2025.

The Teams calling features is a direct competitor of Zoom Phone and similar products from RingCentral, 8x8, Cisco and Google. Zoom has recently been investing in Zoom Phone. In October, the company announced it is adding spam blocking and messaging to multiple people at once.

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