Out Loud: Reaction As Microsoft Retire Skype for Business Online

Patrick Watson

August's edition of the Microsoft monthly podcast reacts to the news that Skype for Business Online will be retired in 2021


Listen to the episode here.

Watch on YouTube here.

Our usual expert guest and Microsoft MVP Tom Arbuthnot, from Modality Systems, joins Patrick to review all of the Microsoft Teams news from the past few weeks.

The news of the confirmed retirement date for Skype for Business Online was announced after the original podcast recording. So Patrick and Tom add in a bonus section to discuss the details. Tom explains that this news was expected and it no way impacts Skype for Business Server customers. From September this year all new Office 365 subscribers will be directed to use Microsoft Teams as an alternative. Patrick asks Tom about the two year timeline before the deadline date and Tom explains that this should be an ample amount for organisations to migrate over to Teams with assistance from Microsoft.

After the Skype for Business Online retirement reaction is concluded we move back onto the original podcast. Firstly Tom takes Patrick through all of the news from Microsoft Inspire. Inspire is Microsoft’s partner focused event and Teams was one of the most prominent platforms during the show. Microsoft revealed some impressive figures announcing that Teams now has 13 million daily active users. Patrick and Tom also discuss how this might impact rival collaboration platform Slack.

There was also one Teams feature discussed during Inspire and this was the potential ability to provide compliant call recording. Microsoft have intimated that this will be available shortly and Tom explains why this is so important to certain customers.

Next the pod moves on to discuss some news relating to Skype for Business Server. Cumulative Update 1, CU1, is now available for the platform. There are some new features which Tom talks Patrick through including; a HMTL5 based control panel, SEFAUtil abilities in native Powershell and Automatic Response Group Failover.

Tom also gives Patrick some information regarding virtualisation rights for Skype for Business Server 2019. Microsoft have said that it is eligible for virtualised environments but that organisations need to follow stringent guidelines which will be revealed over the next few months.

Patrick and Tom then discuss the latest news relating to the Microsoft Teams platform. There has been an update for Teams Room Systems, formerly Skype Rooms, which updates the systems to the latest Teams branding, user interface and colour scheme. There are also some functional changes which include; whiteboard support, customisable themes and a rate my call feature.

Tom also tells Patrick that Microsoft have now added South Africa as another location where they can locally deliver cloud services, including Teams, from regional datacentres. Office 365 can now offer customers data residency in 16 geographies globally and that list is set to expand as customer demand continues to grow in new regions.

Finally Tom takes Patrick through the news that all three certified Microsoft cloud video interoperability vendors are now offering a cost free service. Poly, Pexip and BlueJeans will now offer customers some degree of free interoperability channels allowing Team’s systems to connect into other third party meeting, software and endpoint solutions.

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Presenter Patrick Watson with expert guest Tom Arbuthnot.

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