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Skype for Business Online has been officially retired

Microsoft Teams Note20 On Keyboard
Microsoft Teams Note20 On Keyboard (Image credit: Dan Thorp-Lancaster / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Skype for Business Online's extinction has been on the way for two years.
  • Microsoft released many reminders about its impending termination.
  • As of July 31, 2021, the service has been retired.

Skype for Business Online is no more. August 2, 2021, marks the first work week following the fallen service's July 31 termination date. Only a handful of exceptional cases can now use it, and even that is temporary.

Microsoft's going all-in on Teams, and part of that mission involves shedding some of its Skype-branded skin, notably in the form of Skype for Business Online. The one class of users protected from the eradication of the service includes organizations that have scheduled Teams upgrades set for after July 31. In other words, the only people still on Skype for Business Online are those who are actively slated to move off of it in the immediate future.

Microsoft explains the transitionary procedure in more detail on its blog post (opens in new tab) discussing the topic:

Organizations who haven't made a full transition from Skype for Business Online will be scheduled for a Microsoft-assisted upgrade to help with the last-mile technical steps getting to 'Teams Only'. Scheduling notifications are sent to tenant admins within the Microsoft 365 Message Center and Teams admin center 90 days before the date of the assisted upgrade. Even after scheduling, customers may self-upgrade prior to the assisted upgrade date to better control the timing of their upgrade experience.

With all that being said, Skype itself isn't going anywhere (for now). Even though the Business Online end of it has ceased operations, the consumer-grade iteration of Skype and Skype for Business Servers persist. And, in an interesting note from Microsoft, "Skype for Business Online operated by 21Vianet (China Sovereign Clouds Instance)" remains active.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.