Microsoft announced on July 31, 2019 that it will retire Skype for Business Online on July 31, 2021. The company intents to move Skype for Business Online customers over to Teams, an online collaboration workspace application and service.
Microsoft won’t change the Skype for Business Online service for existing customers until July 31, 2021 but new customers who join after September 1, 2019 won’t be able to use the service at all as they will have to use Teams instead.
New business customers who would like to use Skype for Business Online need to set up the whole thing before September 1, 2019, as they won’t be able to do so after August 2019 anymore.
Between now and then, current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service, and they’ll be able to continue to add new users as needed. However, starting September 1, 2019, we will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling.
Microsoft notes that the change won’t affect consumer versions of Skype or the Skype Business server edition; these won’t go away.
Skype for Business launched in 2014. Microsoft Teams launched in 2017 in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft refined the service since the launch. The retiring of Skype for Business Online and the move of Microsoft Teams is made because Microsoft believes that Teams is an upgrade for Skype for Business Online customers.
Teams is more than just a replacement according to Microsoft, ” it’s a powerful tool that opens the door to an entirely new way of doing business”.
Customers who have already made the move tell us that Teams not only has helped them improve collaboration generally, it has also provided a rare opportunity to rethink the way work gets done in their organizations. Using Teams, companies across the world are becoming more agile, shortening cycle times, improving the efficiency of key workflows, and cutting out unnecessary overhead.
Microsoft plans to integrate features that Skype for Business Online customers requested as they are not part of Teams at the time of writing. The following features are mentioned explicitly:
- Dynamic 911 will become available at the end of 2019 in Teams for the United States.
- Shorter Retention Periods to limit channel and chat retention periods to 1 day (and longer) periods. The feature will also become available at the end of 2019.
- Teams and Skype Consumer Interop to use Skype and Teams services to communicate using chat and calling. The feature will become available in the first quarter of 2020.
- Contact Center Integration and Compliance Recording.
Now You: What is your take on Microsoft’s decision?
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