There's no 'I' in Teams so Microsoft issues 6-month warning for laggards still on Skype for Business Online

The axeman cometh


The sound of a blade being sharpened in Redmond could be heard this week as Microsoft issued a six-month warning for Skype for Business Online.

The clock began ticking in 2019, when Microsoft insisted that the then new kid on the block, Teams, was more than ready for prime time. Teams has certainly received more than its fair share of attention in the months since, getting toys such as the Muppet Show-esque Together meeting mode ahead of its appearance in the consumer version of Skype.

More usefully, Islands mode allowed some overlapping of Teams and Skype functionality for intra-organisation and external purposes respectively.

But the end is now in sight. Microsoft noted "most Skype for Business Online customers have deployed Teams," (and let's face it – if you're a Microsoft 365 shop, it's hard to avoid the thing) but also warned that "some organizations may not be far along in the Teams upgrade planning process."

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Understandable, since 2020 proved vexing for even the most organised of IT departments. One can see why an enterprise might put off a migration from Skype for Business Online in favour of the also-online Teams. Those who did make the move last year faced struggles of their own, what with the odd outage and wobble as the pandemic began to grip the planet.

Speaking of the Skype for Biz axing, Microsoft observed that some customers might be able to score an automated move to Teams, meaning that a number of the technical aspects would be taken care of, although enterprises were still responsible for training up and getting users prepped for the jarring shift.

Microsoft also remarked: "We're getting a bit nostalgic about what's going away." Clearly not enough to extend the cut-off date, however.

Other editions of Skype will continue to chug along but the Online Business version is definitely coming to an end on 31 July 2021. ®


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