Microsoft has announced that Skype for Business will be retired on July 31st, 2021.
At the Ignite 2019 in Orlando FL were many sessions about Microsoft Teams and it was kind of clear, that Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for business in the nearest future. Now it is clear when that will happen.
In 2011 Microsoft has bought Skype for around $8.5 billions. However, Microsoft has renamed Lync with the Business version of Skype.
If we have a look on the field today, there are multiple versions out there on the marked. In one hand there is still a “Skype” version available. In the other hand for the business field we are speaking about are Skype for business and Skype for business online.
The biggest difference between these two editions was that Skype for business is an on-premise edition and SfB online a part of the Office 365 package.
When I am talking with my customers or potential customers as well they mostly bring it to the sentence: “Skype for Business is the solution for on-premise but if they want to go to the cloud, they implement Microsoft Teams.”
However, it looks like not only my customers are thinking that way. In the beginning of July 2019 Microsoft has announced that there are currently more than 13 million daily active users using Microsoft Teams.
Along with the usage figures, Microsoft is rolling out new features almost every month including read receipts and Time Clock which allows you to clock in and out of shift work inside the application.
Another great thing, which is coming in Microsoft Teams are Private Channels.
Microsoft has been pushing Teams at any given chance and the company has made it clear that Skype services are the past for the company. Teams is a Microsoft’s new darling and with mostly-positive reviews of the new collaboration application, the company has no plans to support Skype and Teams in the business environment for the long-haul.
It is still a long time to go…
Yes, it is still some time to go until Skype for Business will be retired. However, from my personal point of view Microsoft has made the announcement with good timing. It allows us to start planning the migrations – especially in large companies, where the planning and migrating needs more time.
Another good reason for the announcement two years before retiring Skype for Business is for planning new projects. There are still plenty companies out there, which still uses different telephony and collaboration solutions and maybe they are thinking for a migration to Skype for business. For us Engineers, Consultants and Architects makes it easier now to bring this companies to the right way that they don’t loose money, time, and nerves by migrating to Skype for Business and after this straight away to Microsoft Teams.
How about current Skype for Business online customers?
Microsoft says, that the current Skype for Business online customers will have no change in their service and/or experience. For them everything stays as they know it now.
However, one important thing we need to be aware of is, that starting from September 1st, 2019 all new customers will be onboarded to Microsoft Teams for calling, chat and meetings.
Microsoft is confident that Teams can fully replace Skype for Business Online even for the most demanding enterprise customers.
How about the on-premise life cycle?
As written earlier in this article, we need to have a look on Skype for Business in two versions. The online version will be retired on July 31st, 2021. The Life Cycle of the Skype for Business on-premise server is different. Depending about the version you are currently using, you can find the Life Cycle in the table below:
|Lifecycle Start Date
|Mainstream Support End Date
|Extended Support End Date
|Skype for Business 2015
|Skype for Business 2016
|Skype for Business 2019
|Skype for Business SRV 2015
|Skype for Business SRV 2019
Also to think about…
The last small but important thing to think about is the devices we are currently using. Depending about the equipment we may have to change the phones and conference room equipment.
Another thing is about Equipment for emergency topics like pagers and other “on duty” topics.
From my personal point of view this step Microsoft is forcing us to go, is not a big surprise and by thinking about the Cloud strategy the right time for it. Microsoft Teams becomes every month thanks to new features stronger and stronger. Microsoft gives us now two years for the preparation of the new era looking on all Cloud affine companies. The on-premise versions will still be available longer like the life cycle is showing us.