Microsoft announced today that it will retire Skype for Business Online on July 31, 2021, two years from now. Toward that end, starting this Sept. 1, Microsoft will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams. And, after July 31, 2021, the Skype for Business Online service will no longer be accessible or supported.
Organizations currently using Skype for Business Online will be able to continue to add new users up until the retirement date in 2021. Any companies that want to start up with Skype for Business Online -- although it’s unclear why they would at this point -- would need to create its tenants in the next month.
With this announcement, Microsoft seeks to make clear that neither Skype consumer nor Skype for Business Server will be affected by the retirement of the Skype for Business Online service, as noted in a blog post outlining the decision. And yet, this does foreshadow an eventual end for Skype for Business Server.
Once Skype for Business Online is gone, Skype for Business Server becomes more of an on-premises “orphan” in the Office 365 family. With almost every other application and tool, Microsoft provides both an on-premises and cloud-based option: Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, Azure, and Azure Stack.
With today’s announcement, organizations both running Skype for Business Server and Skype for Business Online should hasten to develop a specific communications and collaboration roadmap
. For larger organizations with tens of thousands of users, two years can go by very quickly.