Skype for Business Online retires in six months – what you need to know

Published Feb 01 2021 08:00 AM 27.8K Views

Eighteen months ago, we announced the July 31, 2021 retirement of Skype for Business Online. With six months until the service ends, we’re focused on helping each of our customers upgrade to Microsoft Teams and enabling more ways to come together and get things done.

Skype for Business Online has been a critical communications tool for millions of organizations across the globe. Once customers experience the way Teams brings together chat, calling, meetings and more, they realize the amazing potential to collaborate seamlessly and simplify work in a secure and compliant way.

Regardless of where you are on the journey from Skype for Business to Teams, this is an important checkpoint to make sure your organization is on track to upgrade to Teams before Skype for Business Online retires and access to the service ends.

“We’ve got a plan, and we’re working the plan.”

Most Skype for Business Online customers have deployed Teams, either with Overlapping Capabilities (aka “Islands Mode”) or Select Capabilities, and are gradually moving users and workloads as their organization is ready. Chances are if you’re in this camp, your finish line is in sight. You still have time to double-check your technical and organizational readiness before changing the coexistence and upgrade settings as you move users or your tenant to Teams Only.

“Uh oh, we’re not ready.”

Some organizations may not be far along in the Teams upgrade planning process. It’s understandable as the events of the past year have impacted strategies, priorities, and resources for so many. Don’t worry, you still have time. In fact, there are numerous examples of organizations that have made the upgrade from Skype for Business Online, or hybrid deployments or Skype for Business Server to Teams in a matter of months. With six months until retirement, we encourage you to begin planning today to accommodate the technical, process, and user scenarios that may be unique to your organization. But rest assured, there are resources to guide you step-by-step.

If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend the following:

FastTrack assistance is available for eligible subscriptions, or you may choose to engage a Microsoft Partner to help plan or execute your upgrade from Skype for Business to Teams.

Automated upgrades to Teams
Some Skype for Business Online customers will be eligible for automated upgrades to Microsoft Teams. This program was designed to assist customers with the technical elements of upgrading a Skype for Business Online tenant to Teams Only. Customers scheduled for automated upgrades will receive notifications in both the Teams admin center, as well as the Microsoft 365 Message Center, at least three months before their upgrade date to allow time for technical and user readiness. To learn more about eligibility and more details about the experience, read Automated Upgrades from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams.

More engaging and efficient meetings. Improved collaboration. Easy app and workflow integration. There’s so much to love about Teams.
In six months, access to Skype for Business Online will end. Though we’re getting a bit nostalgic about what’s going away, it’s easy to see how much more organizations can do with Teams – staying connected and accomplishing more together across work, school, and life. And that has us excited about what’s ahead.


Please note the retirement of Skype for Business Online does not affect the Skype consumer service, Skype for Business Server products and Skype for Business Online operated by 21Vianet (China Sovereign Clouds Instance)


See you on Teams!

Occasional Visitor

Hi Shannon,


Thanks for sharing, good to know. I miss my ol' colleagues at Microsoft.  You sat right in front of me about 4 year ago. Say hello to Wil.



Darryl Brooks

Honeywell Technologies

Sr. Enterprise Architect

Frequent Visitor

how is the migration plan from s4b onprem to teams when s4b-online is turned off? because actually right now you ned to migrate s4b onprem, to s4b-online and then further too teams? isn't it?

Regular Visitor

We love Teams, but I'm sad at how much we have to use Zoom because we have thousands of volunteers that help us and only need video calling. Getting O365 for all of them doesn't make sense. They don't need O365, they just need to be able to host weekly group video calls with students, but since the video calling option doesn't exist independent of MS Teams, there is no way to provide this in Microsoft systems. So now we're stuck in this weird world of Zoom and Teams, and users that don't know when to use what.


How it seems like it should have gone. Skype (or some rebuilt/rebranded version of it) is still the video call and chat platform, but it's critically integrated into Teams as the video, chat, and calling portion of the platform. It comes with O365 just like Teams. The difference is, being I want to be able to add users to our account that just have Skype (video calling) capabilities and not the whole O365. Instead, it's all or nothing...and in our case.....nothing for these thousands of volunteers we have. Because of it, we are now an organization that uses both Zoom and Teams heavily, where if there was a video calling only option, we would just be in Microsoft integrated products.


So what do I get? Half my calls in Teams and half my calls in Zoom. What a pain and so disjointed....neither being able to do everything we need and jumping back and forth between the 2.

Frequent Contributor

@Stephan Lang 

Yes. But moving from on prem to Online was done within 3hours (1000people here) including the setup. And moving them to Teams is a PowerShell Piece.


Technical it's a day. Change management is a month ;)



Are employees still capable to join meetings with the installed app at customers "on prem" installations?

Senior Member

What will happen with onPrem deployments? Will the interaction between S4B-OnPrem and Teams continue? How will the Teams Federation work? Now these options are essentially using the S4BOnline cloud service. I hope Microsoft will finally make an independent Teams border/edge service for this purpose. Will we be able to migrate users from S4B-OnPrem to Teams after July?




Senior Member

We are currently 90% switched to Teams within our 6k user org, and have simple question I need to ask. 

How do you remove Skype for business from Intune managed W10 devices? I have been doing lots a research over recent days, but are still unable to find ANY official MS documentation covering this process. Surely it's not as simple, as unticking Skype for Business from the App suite configuration (i.e. it will then silently remove Skype from the Intune managed W10 clients)?

Any help on this process, would greatly appreciated :) 

Many thanks

Frequent Contributor

@John McAdam 

Please review this ticket first. I am not sure if it is fixed already
Known issue: Timeline - Outlook 365 - Presence not showing with Teams · Issue #4431 · MicrosoftDocs/...

Having Skype for Business installed in Teams Only mode does not really hurt - and users can still join Skype for Business meetings with the app

Senior Member

Many thanks for the speedy response Stephen :).

Do you know if switching to 'Teams Only' mode, removes any W10 search/shortcut associations with Skype for end users, whilst still keeping it in the 365 Apps for enterprise install?

Frequent Contributor

@John McAdam 

It does not change anything with the shortcuts. But when the user opens "Skype for Business" he/she gets a notice that the new standard UC client is Teams.

Senior Member

Thanks for the response @StephanGee. Based around this, I amend our custom xmlns Device Restrictions profile, to remove the Skype association when are 100% switched to 'Teams Only' mode.

Senior Member

We cannot effectively move over to Teams without a Global Address Book.

Frequent Contributor

We are ready to move to Teams. But we have several customers that use Skype for Business "on prem".

Will we still be able to use the "Full client" to join these meetings or do i need to rollout the "Skype for Business Web App" for this?


I could not find an answer to this. 

Super Contributor


It is still expected that hybrid setup continues working as expected? Are there any items what hybrid setups must be taken care?

Super Contributor


One simple question: Today, when users are joining to Skype for Business meetings, hosted on-premises environments (their own or other companies), they are joining to that meeting using Skype client. If Skype for Business online will be closed totally, how that will impact to this scenario?



When will teams allow users to block folks? this was good feature in skype to block harassing coworkers and also other parties while being able to collaborate with everyone else.


the below uservoice has a substantial amount of voices and has been open for 3 yrs, the folks deserve some answers to the valid points they raise about cyberbullying and harassment.

Allow user to block specific contacts while being able to stay Online for others. – Microsoft Teams ...

Senior Member

Has anyone had any issues removing the Skype for business on Windows 10 devices, after switching to 'Teams Only' mode? 

Below are the 2 method's I have tried so far:

1) Simply removing Skype from the currently selected Office App's, within the App suite configuration.

2) Targeted the Uninstall under Assignments of just the Skype client via a new group App suite configuration.

N.B. I have obviously already excluded my test group from the Skype install, on any other previously deployed app config



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