Microsoft to retire Skype for Business Online in 2021; Teams taking over as default Office 365 meeting tool

(GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

Microsoft will retire Skype for Business Online in July 2021 and replace it with Microsoft Teams as the go-to product for meetings and collaboration.

Microsoft has said before it planned to eventually replace Skype for Business as the company’s primary tool for all calls, video conferences and meetings for customers using Office 365 in the cloud with Teams. But this is the first time the company has put a date on the move.

While Skype for Business will be available until July 31, 2021, Microsoft will begin onboarding new Office 365 customers onto Teams as the default option for chats meetings and calls starting Sept. 1 of this year. Skype’s consumer service and Skype for Business Server, the service for businesses that don’t host meetings in the cloud, will not be affected by today’s announcement.

Switching Skype for Business for Teams will provide a major boost in users for the tool as it competes with rival Slack. Microsoft said earlier this month that Teams hit 13 million daily active users, just a few months after the tool’s two-year anniversary.

“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,” James Skay, a senior product marketing manager in the Intelligent Communications group at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post about Skype for Business’ retirement.

Skype for Business has been Microsoft’s most popular meeting tool for years. Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in 2011 was one of its biggest ever at a price tag of $8.5 billion.