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In October, 2018, we announced a plan to offer the Skype for Business desktop app on Mac as our web-downloadable meetings client instead of Skype Meetings App, starting in December.  Due to  feedback from customers, we decided to postpone the change.  Everything is now in place, and we will make the transition on April 5!

 

(The Skype Meetings App, or SMA for short, is a web-downloadable meetings app for use when a Skype for Business desktop app is not installed on a computer.  SMA is available for meetings hosted on SfB Online or on SfB 2015 Server that is configured to use the online Microsoft Content Delivery Network (CDN).)

 

In order to provide the best and most stable meeting experience on Mac, we will provide the Skype for Business desktop app for all users.  Starting in April, the joining web pages will only offer SfB desktop app for download.

 

Switch SMA to SFB.pngHow would you like to join your meeting? web page
The desktop app brings many advantages over SMA: Screen sharing, audio, and video are significantly more reliable.  The meeting experience is built around a larger and more immersive display of video and shared content.  Screen sharing from the Mac uses Video-based Screen Sharing (VbSS), which is faster and more reliable than Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) used by SMA.  The app has also been optimized to work well with macOS 10.14 (Mojave), including Dark Mode.

 

We are also making two changes to the desktop app in companion with this change:

 

First, we are reducing the size of the desktop app installer.  The desktop app is larger than SMA, so the download takes 5-10 seconds longer on average.  This timing is also dependent on your network connection.

 

Second, we are adding support in the desktop app for uploading and downloading attachments in meetings, a feature that is available in SMA.  The desktop app does not support whiteboard, polls, and Q&A.   For a full comparison of Skype for Business for Mac and Skype Meetings App features, see the Supported Meetings Features table in Plan for Meetings clients (Web App and Meetings App).

 

We are excited to bring these improvements to our Mac users, and we look forward to your continued feedback on Skype for Business!

16 Comments
Occasional Contributor

Hello Guys

 

It is great to see some improvements here but confusing as you are pushing Teams and deprecating Skype???

 

Best regards

Contributor

When will the changes mentioned to the app (such as download size, attachments) be available for testing? 

Microsoft

@Christophe Humbert - We are not deprecating Skype for Business.  On the Mac platform, we have decided to replace the previous web-downloadable app with the desktop app.  Both apps offer the ability for someone without a Skype for Business account in your organization to join a meeting, but the desktop app has better reliability and a superior meeting experience.

 

@Phillip Lyle  - We will have Insider builds of the desktop app with attachments and reduced size available in mid-March.

Occasional Contributor

@Phillip Garding 

 

Great to see these changes coming to Mac Users!

Contributor

@Phillip Garding 

 

Thanks for the quick response.  Can you provide an estimate for the reduction in size of the installer from the current 45MB?  We are going to have to do some tests and run through the experience, in order to properly educate our users on external guest expectations compared to other platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributor

@Phillip Garding I went through the current installation experience on the Mac platform with a standard user, and was prompted for admin rights.  I thought this requirement was already removed?

 

For others' benefit, here are the steps needed to install Skype for Business on Mac (12 clicks, versus 6 with the Meetings App).

1. Click the link to download the file. (downloading direct because the new experience is not yet available)

2. Open your Downloads (varies depending on browser) and locate the Skype package, and run it.

3. At the Skype for Business Installer screen, click Continue.

4. At the Software License Terms screen, click Continue.

5. At the Agree to the Terms screen, click Agree.

6. At the "This will take 115 MB of space" screen, click Install.

7. Prompt for admin rights. Enter administrative credentials and click Install Software.

8. At the "Installer" wants access to control "System Events" screen, click OK.

9. At the "Installation was successful" screen, click Close.

10. At the "Do you want to move the "Skype for Business" installer to the Trash screen, click "Move to Trash".

The software automatically launches Microsoft AutoUpdate.

11. (If Auto-Update is launched), click Install to install the latest update.

12. Click the link for the Skype for Business meeting again (again, can't quite test this experience yet).

13. After the software launches, type your name and click Join as Guest.

14. If prompted for microphone access, click OK.

Microsoft

@Phillip Lyle - Our target for the download size is to be at 40 MB or less.  The SfB desktop app installer is currently about 47MB.  Our approach will be to defer the download of some resources so that they are not included in the app installer itself, but will be downloaded later as needed.  This will have no or minimal impact to the user.  One example is to use a streamlined Microsoft Auto Update (MAU) component that doesn't include signatures of all apps when installed, but will download the signatures later when MAU does it's check for software updates.  We are still evaluating different options for what resources can be delayed, and we will give more information when we are closer to releasing those changes.

Occasional Contributor

Could you please try and make a constant experience across platforms? That's what you said you were doing at Ignite and this is a direct contradiction to that. Stop lying to your customers and pushing "features" that make working with your platform more inconvenient. It's a rolling joke with us what change you have planned will be delayed next due to backlash from your bigger customers.

Contributor

@Phillip Garding I have an open ticket w/ support for the requirement of admin rights during install.  Obviously, you can't go live with this if it indeed still requires privileges.

 

Additionally, would you please describe the expected behavior when a Mac user clients if they click the "Trouble Joining? Try Skype Web App" link found in every meeting invitation?  Does it just not work for them and go to the same experience as the main link?

 

@Phillip Garding, I am 2nd to ask for the query on admin rights during installing SfB Mac Client and expected behavior for mac user who click on "Trouble Joining". Thanks 


@Phillip Garding wrote:

In October, 2018, we announced a plan to offer the Skype for Business desktop app on Mac as our web-downloadable meetings client instead of Skype Meetings App, starting in December.  Due to  feedback from customers, we decided to postpone the change.  Everything is now in place, and we will make the transition on April 5!

 

(The Skype Meetings App, or SMA for short, is a web-downloadable meetings app for use when a Skype for Business desktop app is not installed on a computer.  SMA is available for meetings hosted on SfB Online or on SfB 2015 Server that is configured to use the online Microsoft Content Delivery Network (CDN).)

 

In order to provide the best and most stable meeting experience on Mac, we will provide the Skype for Business desktop app for all users.  Starting in April, the joining web pages will only offer SfB desktop app for download.

 

Switch SMA to SFB.pngHow would you like to join your meeting? web page
The desktop app brings many advantages over SMA: Screen sharing, audio, and video are significantly more reliable.  The meeting experience is built around a larger and more immersive display of video and shared content.  Screen sharing from the Mac uses Video-based Screen Sharing (VbSS), which is faster and more reliable than Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) used by SMA.  The app has also been optimized to work well with macOS 10.14 (Mojave), including Dark Mode.

 

We are also making two changes to the desktop app in companion with this change:

 

First, we are reducing the size of the desktop app installer.  The desktop app is larger than SMA, so the download takes 5-10 seconds longer on average.  This timing is also dependent on your network connection.

 

Second, we are adding support in the desktop app for uploading and downloading attachments in meetings, a feature that is available in SMA.  The desktop app does not support whiteboard, polls, and Q&A.   For a full comparison of Skype for Business for Mac and Skype Meetings App features, see the Supported Meetings Features table in Plan for Meetings clients (Web App and Meetings App).

 

We are excited to bring these improvements to our Mac users, and we look forward to your continued feedback on Skype for Business!


 

Occasional Visitor

is Team Replacing Skype For business or not, and if not it means that one partner can choose to stay with Skype for business forever and the other will use Teams. And Microsoft is always going to provide compatibility between both systems :smileyfrustrated:

Microsoft

I apologize for the delay in responding; I have been out of the office for a few days.  

@Phil Lyle and @Balu N Ilag - The SfB desktop installer does support installation without admin permissions.  We use the standard Apple installer, which has the following option:

 

Screenshot 2019-03-14 16.24.48.pngDestination Select page of Skype for Business installer

A standard user can select Install for me only and no elevated permissions are required.  If Install for all users of this computer is selected, admin permissions are needed to access the installation folder.  The Apple installer defaults to the option for all users, and they don't offer a way for us to override it.  

 

One thing that we discovered is that the Apple changed the behavior of their installer in Mojave so that the Destination Select page is skipped by default in the installation.  When you click Continue on the License page, the installer moves to Installation Type.  You have to click Change Install Location to see the Destination Select page.  

Screenshot 2019-03-14 16.24.16.pngInstallation Type page of Skype for Business installer

We are still researching this, but it appears that Apple does not provide a way for us to override these default behaviors.  However, Mac users who do not have admin permissions would need to to this for all software they install, so it should be familiar.

 

Phil.

Contributor

Thanks for getting back to us with that answer, Phil.

 

Unfortunately, in real life, Mac users who don't have admin rights typically have their software installed for them.  They aren't going to know or do as you describe.

 

The simplified Mac experience for our organization is, sadly, going to be that we don't recommend Skype for external collaborations.

Microsoft

@eerstech - For customers of Skype for Business Online, organizations will need to move to Teams at some point (with timing under their control), but for customers of Skype for Business Server (on premises), there is no plan to force anyone to move to Teams.  We will continue to support Skype for Business for the foreseeable future.  Interoperability between Teams and Skype for Business is a critical feature that we support today and continue to enhance.  This is important both within an organization (as migration to Teams may happen in stages) and between organizations.   The switch from Skype Meetings App to SfB desktop app on Mac is part of this support.  We can provide a better and more reliable experience for people who need to join SfB meetings, even if they are not using SfB as their daily communications apps.

 

Phil.

Occasional Contributor

Why was this approach taken, external clients want a simple in browser experience, and join meetings on the hour. They don’t want to deal with App installations for the first 5 minutes of a call. Most IT departments are very locked down on whitelisted apps, so I feel this will cause all kinds of issues. We are fighting an up hill battle against users wanting to use Zoom, the MAC SfB experience already has a bad reputation, this isn’t going to help and is a step backwards. The browser option should still be a supported option. Thanks. 

Occasional Contributor

@Richard Crowley That comment is spot on and should be completely obvious to Microsoft. Their choices simply have no logic behind them.