Today we’re announcing that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021. This post provides details on the retirement plan, a brief explanation of why we’re making this announcement now, and a summary of what we’re doing to help customers migrate to Teams.
What is the Skype for Business Retirement plan?
Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021, and after that date the service will no longer be accessible. Between now and then, current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service, and they’ll be able to continue to add new users as needed. However, starting September 1, 2019, we will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling. Please note that the Skype Consumer service and Skype for Business Server will both be unaffected by this announcement.
Why are we making this announcement now?
In 2017 we launched Microsoft Teams as “the hub for teamwork” in Microsoft 365. Teams combines chat, video, calling, and document collaboration into a single, integrated app – and enables an entirely new way of working. Over the last two years, we’ve worked closely with customers to refine Teams, and we now feel we’re at the point that we can confidently recommend it as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers. Customers who have already made the move tell us that Teams not only has helped them improve collaboration generally, it has also provided a rare opportunity to rethink the way work gets done in their organizations. Using Teams, companies across the world are becoming more agile, shortening cycle times, improving the efficiency of key workflows, and cutting out unnecessary overhead. Teams isn’t just an upgrade for Skype for Business Online, it’s a powerful tool that opens the door to an entirely new way of doing business. But don’t take our word for it! Learn more about the potential benefits of Teams for your organization with the recently published Forrester white paper “The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Teams.”
What is Microsoft doing to help customers migrate to Teams?
For all of the benefits of moving to Teams, we recognize that the migration will require time and effort – and we’re here to help.
First, we’re making product investments to address feature requests from current Skype for Business Online customers, including:
- Dynamic 911. A feature of Microsoft Teams Phone System, Dynamic E911 automatically uses the caller’s current location to route to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) call center operated by the local government. Dynamic E911 will be delivered in Teams for the United States by the end of this calendar year.
- Shorter Retention Periods. New retention period options will allow customers to limit channel and chat retention periods to as short as 1 day and ensure that when data is deleted it is removed from all permanent storage locations in the Teams service. Shorter Retention Periods will be available in Teams by the end of this calendar year.
- Teams and Skype Consumer Interop. Interop between Teams and Skype Consumer will allow users on the two services to communicate using both chat and calling. Teams and Skype Consumer Interop will be available in Teams in the first quarter of calendar year 2020.
- Contact Center Integration and Compliance Recording. At Inspire earlier this month we announced Teams partnerships with Five9, Genesys, and NICE to enable Contact Center solutions – and with ASC, NICE, and Verint to provide Compliance Recording. We’re also working with other Skype for Business Online certified partners to bring other Contact Center and Compliance Recording solutions to market for Teams.
And when you’re ready to get started, we offer a comprehensive set of technical guidance and planning resources, including a proven success framework, best practices, planning documents, free instructor-led training, and FastTrack onboarding assistance for eligible subscriptions.
Since its introduction in 2014, Skype for Business has been a valuable tool for millions of people around the world. By combining instant messaging, calling, and video into a single app, the product established an exciting, new vision for business communications. Microsoft Teams is the next chapter in that vision, and with today’s news we’re not only announcing the retirement of the Skype for Business Online service, we’re also communicating our confidence in Teams. After more than two years in market, Teams is ready for our most demanding customers – and we’re convinced that you're going to love it! If you’re a current Skype for Business Online customer, start planning your migration today. We’re committed to helping you every step of the way, and we can’t wait for you to experience the new way to work.