Microsoft announces that Skype for Business Online will be retired

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As Microsoft continue to push Teams, the company has announced that Skype for Business Online will be retired in 2021.

While this is far from surprising, this is the first time a date has been mentioned so users can prepare to transition away. With the retirement date set at July 31, 2021, users have two years to get ready for a move to Teams.

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Microsoft assures users of Skype for Business Online that between now and the retirement date, nothing will change. But come July 31, 2021, the service will no longer be available. As part of its drive to encourage people to migrate to Teams, Microsoft says that "starting September 1, 2019, we will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling".

In a post on the Microsoft Teams blog the company says:

In 2017 we launched Microsoft Teams as "the hub for teamwork" in Microsoft 365. Teams combines chat, video, calling, and document collaboration into a single, integrated app -- and enables an entirely new way of working. Over the last two years, we've worked closely with customers to refine Teams, and we now feel we're at the point that we can confidently recommend it as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers. Customers who have already made the move tell us that Teams not only has helped them improve collaboration generally, it has also provided a rare opportunity to rethink the way work gets done in their organizations. Using Teams, companies across the world are becoming more agile, shortening cycle times, improving the efficiency of key workflows, and cutting out unnecessary overhead. Teams isn't just an upgrade for Skype for Business Online, it's a powerful tool that opens the door to an entirely new way of doing business.

Microsoft also shares details of feature requests that it is looking to address. These include:

  • Dynamic 911. 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.

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