Skype for Business: Down to Details

10 November 2020

Products & licensing
Technology review
Modern workplace

By Tom Vanderstraeten, Modern Workplace Expert, Realdolmen

Rumors about Skype for Business have been flying around for some time now. For example, Microsoft is said to want to stop supporting the communication platform for businesses, preferring to focus exclusively on its Teams alternative. This would signal the beginning of the end for this popular communication service. Will this familiar brand truly soon be over and done with, after decades in which it grew to be so popular that it even became a verb? It's time to get down to the details!

Let's get one thing straight: one Skype is not the other. This is about the business version of Skype. You may use the consumer version yourself in your private life, to make video calls and chat with friends and family. That one isn't likely to disappear any time soon. And let me provide a word of reassurance right now: there's no need to worry too much about the business version either.

Skype for Business Server: business as usual

The business version is available in two variants. The first is Skype for Business Server, an on-premises variant you can either install on your own servers or purchase as a service from a private cloud service provider. The other is the public cloud service, Skype for Business Online, hosted by Microsoft itself as part of Office 365 and Microsoft 365.

Skype for Business Server, Microsoft's communication tool that targets businesses specifically, will continue to exist as before in the coming years. Skype for Business Server 2019, the latest version, will in fact benefit from extensive support by Microsoft until October 14, 2025, to be precise. During Microsoft's most important annual technology conference Ignite, which was forced to take place virtually this time around, they even announced another new version. This is expected to be available somewhere in the second half of next year. Read more about it here.

Skype for Business Online: End in Sight

So, business as usual so far. This doesn't apply to Skype for Business Online, however, which has indeed reached the end of the road. Microsoft will continue to offer and support this public cloud service until the middle of next year (July 31, 2021). After that, everything's over for Skype for Business Online.

Let's face it – the decision isn't actually all that surprising.

Skype for business online

With the arrival of Microsoft Teams in 2017, the end of Skype for Business Online was written in the stars, as it were. First of all, both communication services are part of Microsoft 365, but purely functionally, Teams is heads and shoulders above the Skype service. Anything you can do with the latter can also be done through Teams, whether that's chatting, phone calls, meeting and managing contacts. In other words, the overlap is all-encompassing. It's just that Teams also has so much more to offer: from document, file and project management to collaborating in – the name says it all – teams. What's more, it's all through a single interface, making it more user-friendly than ever.

It doesn't make sense, nor show very great business acumen, to continue offering two separate services for the same tasks. And as Microsoft Teams is today's fastest growing communication and collaboration tool within Microsoft 365, the ultimate choice for that service is pretty clear.
Read more about Teams' many advantages here.


To benefit fully from Teams' many advantages and give your organization ample time to migrate to Microsoft Teams, we advise starting that migration process today. Even if you have a hybrid Skype for Business server configuration, you should migrate your Skype for Business Online users to Teams in good time – even if in the end, nothing will change for your Skype for Business Server. 

Whatever your scenario or stage, you can always count on our experts to help you with this digital transformation and get your organization into a digital flow.

Want to find out more?

Do you want to start working with Teams in your organization, but don't know how to start? Our MS Teams Jumpstart could well be the perfect solution. Our experts won't just ensure the smooth, secure integration of Teams into your environment, but can also help your employees reap the most benefits from this new functionality.
Contact our experts at Of course, you can also contact your regular Realdolmen account manager about this. 

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