Microsoft has announced the launch of Skype Meetings, a new and free video and audio chat tool for small businesses that don't have an Office 365 subscription.

In a blog post, Microsoft stated:

With Skype Meetings, you can quickly set up meetings and share a personalized URL that participants click to join the meeting. During the meeting, participants can IM, share their screen or PowerPoint presentation or use the laser pointer and whiteboard features to make it more engaging and productive. The meeting organizer also gets professional meeting controls such as the ability to mute the audience in order to be heard.

Skype Meetings is available to everyone without an Office 365 subscription in the U.S. who uses a business email address. It requires a web browser, microphone and camera. Once users sign up, they can hold video and audio chats in Skype Meetings for up to 10 people in the first 60 days, and after that the free service limits the number of folks in the chat to 3 participants. Skype Meetings is basically a free demo for the full-featured Skype for Business that's available with a enterprise-based Office 365 subscription, which can handle up to 250 people in a video or audio chat.

Sign up for Skype Business