Microsoft first announced the planned transition last September at the Ignite conference, calling the move part of its "new vision for intelligent communications." That vision entails Teams inheriting Skype's voice calling and meeting capabilities, as well as AI and machine learning capabilities via the Microsoft Graph, while running on Skype's infrastructure for the back-end.Those Skype calling capabilities became available in Teams last December.
This early in the year, it might be too early to forecast exactly what Microsoft has planned for this second release, though there's at least one feature that Microsoft has already bumped from Redstone 4 and into Redstone 5.
"Sets," which first cropped up last November in a Redstone 4 build, is a workspace-management interface that revolves around tabs.
In a blog post announcing Office 2019, Microsoft Office General Manager Jared Spataro characterized the upcoming release as an olive branch to organizations that are still wary of making the move to the cloud.
"Cloud-powered innovation is a major theme at Ignite this week.
And in a more recent build, Microsoft debuted a privacy app called "Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer" that gives users and administrators a better handle on the kinds of telemetry data that Microsoft collects from Windows 10 devices.
Redstone 4 will be followed by another release code-named "Redstone 5" in the later part of 2018.
• A separate report indicates that Windows 10 S will no longer be a standalone SKU, but will included in all Windows 10 versions as an "S mode." Microsoft's semiannual release schedule for Windows 10 is less of a novelty now than it was back in 2015, when Microsoft ushered in the OS under a new "as-a-service" model.
Three years and five version updates later, Microsoft is expected to stick to an update model it nailed down last year, with one major update release coming in the first half of the year (usually spring) and another in the second (usually fall).
Microsoft described Sets as a way "to make sure that everything related to your task: relevant webpages, research documents, necessary files and applications, is connected and available to you in one click." Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it was pulling Sets from future Redstone 4 builds, though it will restore the feature in a "post-RS4 flight." Presumably, that means Redstone 5.
For those waiting for future Windows Mobile/Windows Phone developments, however, don't hold your breath.
Microsoft has also been stumping for Teams in the academic space, offering it to schools through the no-cost Office 365 for Education plan, and rolling out UI features designed specifically for students and teachers.