Skype for Business is retiring this weekend - here's what you need to know

Microsoft has reminded users that it will be retiring its Skype for Business video conferencing platform on July 31 2021.

The company is moving users over to its wildly successful Microsoft Teams platform as it looks to streamline its offerings ahead of the launch of Windows 11 later this year.

First released in 2015, Skype for Business expanded the capabilities of what was really the first major video and voice calling platform for many users around the world, connecting millions of us at both home and work.

Skype for Business end of life

Microsoft announced the retirement of Skype for Business back in 2019, and the company says it has since led "hundreds of upgrade workshops and millions of successful Skype for Business Online to Teams transitions".

In an official support blog, the company says that any businesses that are still to migrate over to Microsoft Teams will be scheduled for "assisted upgrades to Teams" which should help with any last-mile technical elements, and take less than 24 hours to complete.

Notifications for this process, which is set to start in August 2021, will be sent out to admins 90 days before the date of the assisted upgrade, but Microsoft notes that individual users can self-upgrade prior to the assisted upgrade date if they want to complete the process earlier.

Any organizations that are scheduled for assisted upgrades after July 31 2021 will still be able to use Skype for Business Online until their upgrade is complete.

Microsoft adds that users will be able to migrate their Skype for Business Online Meetings and Contacts over to Teams, so there's no need to worry about anything being lost.

"Regardless of whether an organization manages all aspects of the upgrade or use the assisted process, our guidance includes steps to ensure meetings and contacts are successfully migrated from Skype for Business Online to Teams."

However the company notes that  support for third-party audio conferencing providers (ACP), Skype for Business Online Cloud Connector Edition (CCE), hybrid voice configurations, and Skype Meeting Broadcast will not be continued beyond July 31 2021.

"Organizations that have completed their transitions can attest to the transformational benefits Teams brings," Microsoft wrote. "And while the retirement of Skype for Business Online has us a little nostalgic, we can't be more excited about how Teams helps our customers accomplish more across work, school, and life."

Microsoft recently revealed that Teams can now boast over 250 million active monthly users as the working from home boom continues to see workers around the world embrace online video calls.

Analysis - goodnight, sweet Skype prince

For many of us, Skype was our first venture into the world of online video and voice calling, allowing us to catch up and stay in touch with friends all around the world.

But the enterprise-focused version of the platform was also a vital tool for many companies, allowing a straightforward and often more affordable way to carry out meetings and do business with contacts, leads, partners and more across the globe.

However the launch and immense growth of Microsoft Teams has meant that the writing has been on the wall for Skype for Business for some time, and now it's time to say goodbye.

Microsoft will now be hoping for a smooth migration process for users as it looks to continue boosting the reach of Teams for businesses everywhere.

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