Microsoft has announced that it is retiring the Skype for Business Online service, giving users until the end of July, 2021 to continue using it (via ZDNet). After this date, the online version of Skype for Business will no longer be available for users.
Microsoft has been working heavily on Teams over the last couple of years, which the company intends to fully replace Skype for Business Online. Microsoft believes that Teams is already better suited for businesses than Skype, going as far to say last year that it has reached "feature parity" to the online service, even though it still lacked certain functions.
During the time before Skype for Business Online is discontinued, Microsoft plans to add an additional set of features to Teams, including messaging and calling interchangeability between the two "in the first quarter of calendar year 2020" according to their blog post. The company also plans to implement other features, including
- Dynamic 911, which uses the caller’s current location to route to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) call center operated by the local government in the U.S., which is due to be released by the end of the year.
- Shorter retention periods in channels and chats, allowing messages to automatically be removed from permanent storage locations in as soon as one day, depending on the option selected.
- Contact Center Integration and Compliance Recording, with Five9, Genesys, and NICE to enabling Contact Center solutions, and ASC, NICE, and Verint to providinh Compliance Recording. Microsoft says it is also working with its other Skype for Business certified partners to bring more options to Teams at a later date.
Additionally, starting September 1 of this year, Microsoft will also discontinue the service for new users, providing them with Teams as their central place for communication. Those already using Skype for Business will retain all access, including the ability to add new users, until the retire date.
Those using Skype for Business Server will not be affected, and the company will continue supporting the service until October 14, 2025 at the very least. Which do you think you or your company will choose in the end—Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business Server?