Microsoft Retire Skype for Business Online

Microsoft have revealed that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021

Microsoft Retire Skype for Business Online

It is the news that the industry has been expecting and now Microsoft have confirmed the retirement date for Skype for Business Online as the 31st of July 2021. In a Microsoft Team’s blog published today the tech giant has announced that mainstream support will conclude in the summer of 2021. Regular expert commentator and Microsoft MVP, Tom Arbuthnot bought us the news and additional details on the story in his blog.

Skype for Business was introduced in 2014 as a development of Skype’s consumer offering after Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011. The Skype for Business Online variant was made available as a subscription service and as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity tool suite. Differing to the on premises server equivalent Skype for Business Online is now in direct competition with Microsoft Teams and development has stalled as Microsoft’s investment is heavily focused on the later platform.

Microsoft Teams has taken the lead as Microsoft’s primary cloud collaboration tool, after recently reaching 13 million daily active users, and from the 1st of September 2019 onward Microsoft will be directing all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meeting, and calling functionality. Today’s news does not impact Skype for Business Server or Skype’s consumer services.

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Microsoft has given Skype for Business Online users plenty of notice of its intentions but now with the confirmed date the clock is ticking for organisations operating Skype for Business Online to migrate their systems over to Microsoft Teams. After the date the service will not function at any level. Microsoft are keen to highlight that up until then;

“…current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service.”

Organisations will still be able to administer changes and add new users to their environments until the end of service takes effect. Microsoft made the announcement today as it feels it is now in a position where Microsoft Teams will offer benefits to every customer, over and above the abilities of Skype for Business Online. Microsoft are also keen to point out that although Teams is the direct migration path, for Skype for Business Online users, it is not just an upgrade but an entirely different level of collaboration platform with capabilities outside of the scope for Skype for Business Online.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft are already providing businesses with a host of tools and guides to help them with their migration strategies. The resources include; planning resources, best practices examples,  planning documents, free instructor-led training, and accelerated on-boarding assistance for certain Office 365 packages. In some cases Microsoft had already started the process of automatically upgrading suitable Skype for Business Online tenancies to Microsoft Teams, as UC Today reported previously.  It is to be expected that the process of automatic migrations may well be accelerated to meet the newly confirmed timeline.

Although this news has been expected, the definitive deadline date will force many organisations globally into action. Microsoft is very keen to help its customer base and partner community take their next steps on the journey to a more modern collaborative solution and in Microsoft Teams it has provided one of the most exciting platforms available as an obvious evolution.

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