Microsoft announces free Skype Meetings, available without an Office 365 subscription

Today, Microsoft has announced Skype Meetings, a free online meeting solution for businesses who don't have an Office 365 subscription and then can't use Skype for Business. Similarly to the group video calling video feature on the standard Skype app, Skype Meetings will enable real-time audio and HD video conferencing plus collaboration features such as screen and content sharing during sessions.

With Skype Meetings, you can quickly set up meetings and share a personalized URL that participants click to join the meeting. During the meeting, participants can IM, share their screen or PowerPoint presentation or use the laser pointer and whiteboard features to make it more engaging and productive. The meeting organizer also gets professional meeting controls such as the ability to mute the audience in order to be heard.

Setting up Skype meetings and joining them actually requires users to download the Skype Meeting app after registering with their name and email address. You can see how it works in the video below:

Skype Meetings are available today to anyone Anyone in the US with a business email address and whose organization doesn’t already have Office 365. To get started, you can sign up over here and you will be able to set up meetings for up to 10 people for the first 60 days and up to 3 people thereafter.

If your business already has an Office 365 business subscription that includes Skype for Business, the Skype team reminds you that "you already have richer online meetings capabilities, such as the ability to conduct large group meetings for up to 250 people and the ability to IM anyone in your organization at any time".

Overall, while it's great that Skype Meetings is free to use and doesn't require a Skype account, using the app is not that straightforward as it still requires a separate app. We're not sure it's actually better than just using the Skype standard app, but we could be wrong. Do you think Skype Meetings offers much value to businesses? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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