Is Microsoft Retiring Skype for Business Online?
If you are a current user of Skype for Business Online, it’s important that you know this service will no longer be accessible after July 31, 2021. As of this date, Skype for Business Online will be retired.
Skype for Business Online was originally introduced to companies and organizations around the world in 2014. For five years, the platform has been highly valuable at integrating several forms of communication, including voice calls, video calls, and instant messaging, within a single application. From now on, companies who have relied on this service will need a new plan for their business communications.
Munush Manrao, owner of ePC Solutions, a San Francisco Bay Area IT services company answers the following most frequently asked questions concerning the upcoming retirement plan for Skype for Business Online, including how you should proceed if you are a current user.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Retirement of Skype for Business Online
Can you still use Skype for Business Online right now?
Yes. It is not until July 31, 2021 that Skype for Business Online will be retired completely. At the current time and until the retirement date, you can continue to use this service as usual. There will be no changes, and even if you need to add additional users, you may do so as needed.
Keep in mind, however, that all Office 365 customers will be onboarded to the new communications platform called Microsoft Teams on September 1, 2019 (more on Microsoft Teams below).
This does not mean that you won’t have further access to Skype for Business Online from September 1st, on. If you are already a Skype for Business Online user or a provisioning new user, you can continue to use the service as usual until the retirement date. Microsoft simply wants to start making the transition to Teams as soon as possible.
Once Skype for Business Online is retired, does that mean it simply won’t be serviced anymore? Can you continue using it if you want to?
The retirement of Skype for Business Online is a complete shutdown of the service. Unlike the way in which Microsoft will soon drop support for Windows 7, for example, the retirement of Skype for Business Online does not simply mean that it will no longer be supported or serviced. Instead, it will be completely removed so that it can no longer be used. Even if you wanted to use this service following the retirement date, you would not be able to do so.
What are businesses supposed to use after Skype for Business Online is retired?
While Skype for Business Online was the previous communications client for Office 365, Microsoft has plans to replace this service with a program called Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams is already available for businesses who wish to begin using it now. However, businesses will not be required to use it as Office 365’s online communications client until Skype for Business Online’s retirement on July 31, 2021.
Why is Skype for Business Online being retired?
Microsoft has stated that it wishes to introduce a “richer set of experiences” for its Skype users by introducing a new and improved communications platform. Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for Business Online, and the company hopes the transition will provide a faster, more efficient platform for business communications with even better functionality and user satisfaction.
What if you need help with the transition to Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft plans to assist any Skype for Business Online customers who have questions concerning the transition to Microsoft Teams. You can receive online guidance here, and there are also Microsoft Upgrade Workshops available that can help businesses make a more seamless transition.
Although many businesses may be upset at the change from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams, IT experts and businesses who have already made the transition are positive and hopeful that the transition will ultimately result in a higher level of satisfaction for Microsoft’s communication services. In fact, many current Microsoft Teams users say that it rivals the popular platform Slack in terms of usability and effectiveness.
IT specialists recommend that businesses begin laying the groundwork for this transition as soon as possible. Microsoft Teams is currently available. Downloading and beginning to use this service now will give you and your staff time to adjust to the new interface as opposed to dealing with the abrupt halt of Skype for Business Online come August 1, 2021.