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Microsoft Retiring Skype for Business Online in 2021

What Happened?

Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021. All new Office 365 customers will be on-boarded directly to Teams from September 1, 2019.

Senior Product Marking Manager James Skay, responsible for overseeing this transition, said that Teams has been refined enough to “the point that [Microsoft] can confidently recommend [Teams] as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers.”

Source: SoftwareReviews Microsoft Teams scorecard: Accessed August 20, 2019

Product investments for Teams that address feature requests from current Skype Business Online users will include:

  • Dynamic 911: automatically uses the caller’s current location to route to a Public Safety Answering Point call center operated by the local government. Available: in Teams for the United States by end of this calendar year.
  • Shorter Retention Periods: will allow customers to limit channel and chat retention periods to as short as one day and ensure that when data is deleted it is removed from all permanent storage in the Teams service. Available: in Teams by the end of the 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. Available: in Teams by first quarter of calendar year 2020.
  • Contact Center Integration and Compliance Recording: new Teams partnerships with Five9, Genesys, and NICE to enable contact center solutions, and with ASC, NICE, and Verint to provide compliance recording.

Skype Consumer Service and Skype for Business Server will both be unaffected by this announcement.

Our Take

This announcement rounds off a very interesting month for Teams. At the start of July, Info-Tech covered the results of Mio’s Workplace Messaging Report. This report suggested that the muddled upgrade pathway to Teams from Skype for Business Online meant that Slack was likely to keep stealing users, establishing itself as the shadow-messaging app of choice.

However, mid-July saw Teams overtake Slack in number of users for the first time. Info-Tech reported that Slack adoption is declining among large enterprises, while Teams is gaining market share.

Finally, then, Microsoft has removed much of the ambiguity with this latest roadmap to Teams. The planned upgrades will pacify Skype for Business Online users concerned about losing certain features.

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