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Skype for Business Online to be retired

Microsoft announces plans to discontinue their business conferencing software.

Skype for Business Online – which combines instant messaging, video communication and audio calling – has long provided a one-stop service for business communication.

Skype has been a pioneer of video calling and communication since its launch in 2003. The company was acquired by Microsoft in 2011. Skype for Business was then launched in 2015, giving organisations the ability to hold video conference calls of up to 250 people.

Skype for Business Online will be retired as of July 31, 2021, to be replaced by Microsoft Teams.

What does this mean for Skype for Business Online users?

Skype for Business Online will remain unaffected until it is officially shut down, and Microsoft has promised that there will be no change in service until their July 31st cut-off date.

New users will still be able to be added, and profiles will remain untouched, though users can expect a gradual winding down of active support over the next year and a half.

This will likely coincide with Microsoft’s active onboarding of replacement service Microsoft Teams, “the hub for teamwork.”

Why the switch to Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is intended to replace Skype for Business Online as an alternative with a more focused approach to business needs, adding document integration to its revamped suite of direct business communication features. When talking about Teams, Microsoft has said that its ‘[not just] an upgrade for Skype for Business Online, it’s a powerful tool that opens the door to an entirely new way of doing business.’

Microsoft Teams will be familiar to Skype for Business users

Microsoft has been onboarding Team since September 2019 to ensure that the service is ready to go before withdrawing Skype for Business Online service.

Teams has also been designed in close concert with Skype users, so many features will be familiar.

How do I move to Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft has made Teams available with a wide variety of Office 365 licences (many are the same that give access to Skype for Business Online). Many organisations will, therefore, find they already have access to Teams.

Teams has been launched with the knowledge that it can take businesses and individuals substantial time to switch from one service to another, so plenty of support available. Teams is also far more feature-packed than Skype for Business Online, so Microsoft has released a comprehensive set of planning resources, including best practices, planning documents and FastTrack onboarding assistance.

As Skype for Business Online winds down, it’s worth moving to Microsoft Teams before jumping ship entirely, getting comfortable before Teams becomes the go-to service for business communication.

Akita helps organisations to license, setup, and deploy Teams as a communication and storage solution.

To discuss adopting Microsoft Teams within your organisation, please get in touch.

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