Skype for Business Online to be retired in mid-2021

Microsoft has announced that come July of 2021, it will retire Skype for Business Online - which comes with Office 365 - in favor of Teams.

In a post on the Teams blog, James Skay, a senior product marketing manager in the Intelligent Communications Product Marketing group - that's also responsible for the Skype for Business to Teams migration -, announced that Skype for Business Online will be retiring on July 31 of 2021.

Teams, which was announced in late 2016, is Microsoft's answer to Slack, and it has been slowly but surely replacing Skype for Business Online since October 2017, with feature parity being achieved in August of last year. What's slightly puzzling is the firm's announcement at the beginning of March that Skype for Business - not Teams - will be replacing the Skype Meetings App on the Mac.

Beyond the date mentioned in the second paragraph, it's important to note that new Office 365 tennants will be onboarded directly to Teams rather than Skype for Business Online starting September 1, 2019. Furthermore, there are several improvements being made to Teams in light of this announcement:

  • Dynamic E911. 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.

Today's announcement doesn't affect Skype for Business Server or the consumer version of Skype, both of which will continue to work (however well they currently do) for the foreseeable future.

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