Skype for Business retirement: What happens next?

Sara Ana Cemazar
March 28, 2024
min read

Since its initiation in 2014, Skype for Business has been one of the most valuable tools for millions of people worldwide in terms of calling, instant messaging, and video. 

Microsoft had finally decided on Skype for Business retirement by July 31, 2021. It intended to transition all Skype customers to Microsoft Teams.

Teams, the cooperation hub, combines chat, video, phone, and document collaboration into a single, integrated software. Because of these features, Teams outperforms Skype as the primary communication client for Office 365. 

Starting September 1, 2019, all new Microsoft 365 users were added immediately to Teams for meetings, chats, and calls. 

In this article, we'll look at what happens to Skype for Business users after it retires, the move to Microsoft Teams, the benefits and cons, and alternative choices for secure team communication.

Skype for Business retirement: important dates

These dates are crucial in the retirement of Skype for Business:

  • July 31, 2021: Retirement of Skype for Business Online admin center
  • July 31, 2021: After the retirement date, support for third-party services linked with Skype for Business Online will likewise end
  • August 1, 2021: Marks the start of the assisted upgrade process, which attempts to move users to Teams in less than a day
  • October 14, 2025: End of extended support for Skype for Business 2015

Organizations must be aware of these deadlines in order to make a smooth transition to alternate chat platforms.

What happens to Skype for Business users after retirement?

As noted above, with the retirement of Skype for Business (S4B), users must switch to Microsoft Teams as their primary communication and collaboration tool

This move, however, requires its own set of considerations and modifications, particularly in terms of functionality and hosting capacities.

1. Existing Skype for Business meetings converted to Microsoft Teams meetings

One of the first changes that users will notice is the conversion of existing Skype for Business sessions to Microsoft Teams meetings

This assures continuity in scheduled meetings and a smooth transition to the new platform.

2. Redirection of communication to Microsoft Teams

After the Teams update, all Skype for Business-related conversations from Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and consumer Skype users will end up in Microsoft Teams. 

This redirection ensures that users can continue with their interactions uninterrupted, regardless of their platform.

3. Effects after user upgrade to Teams (Teams Only mode)

Upon upgrading to Teams Only mode, the following modifications happen:

  • All calls and chats will move to Teams, and Skype for Business clients will no longer be usable.
  • New meetings will be arranged in Teams, but previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings will still take place via the desktop client.
  • After receiving notifications about their Teams upgrade, users may need to manually delete the Skype for Business software from their mobile devices.
  • If the desktop client is uninstalled, users will be able to access previously planned Skype for Business meetings through the Skype for Business web app.

4. Switch to Teams Only mode

Following the aided upgrade, users check out of Skype for Business Online and begin utilizing Teams for messaging, meetings, and calling. 

New online users will be introduced in "Teams Only" mode, signaling the end of the previously available "Coexistence Mode".

5. Embracing Teams for the future

At the Skype for Business end of life, organizations and users planned for the transition to Microsoft Teams. 

While this transition may necessitate changes, Microsoft's Assisted Upgrade program attempts to expedite the process and cause little disruption to communication and collaboration activities. 

With Teams emerging as the dominant platform for Microsoft 365 users, accepting this shift paves the path for uninterrupted workplace team communication.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

Talk to sales

Benefits of switching to MS Teams

Following Skype for Business Retirement, Microsoft Teams emerges as a dominant tool for improving organizational communication and collaboration rather than a mere replacement. 

Teams' array of features and upgrades provides multiple compelling benefits for corporations, schools, and organizations, making it an appealing option after Skype for Business Retirement. 

1. Simplified IT management

Teams function in the cloud, removing the need for on-premise servers and infrastructure maintenance. Microsoft handles upgrades effortlessly, making management simple, even for multi-location enterprises.

📚 Learn more about cloud vs on-premise security benefits.

2. Next-generation unified communications

Teams is a unified communications solution that integrates easily with Office 365. It provides advanced chat features, online meetings, and enterprise-grade security. 

Also, its phone infrastructure and calling plans allow for seamless connection across multiple devices.

3. Modern infrastructure and improved user experience

MS Teams is built on a scalable microservices architecture, resulting in efficient bandwidth utilization and minimum downtime during upgrades. 

Users benefit from speedier meeting join times and seamless browser experiences that do not require plug-ins.

4. Comprehensive feature set

Teams offer a complete set of services, such as document sharing, advanced video capabilities, and timekeeping tools, to help you be more productive and collaborative.

5. Increased productivity and ROI

An Independent study has confirmed considerable productivity gains with Teams, including up to four hours saved each week and ROI increases of up to 800%. 

Skype for Business retirement

These outcomes demonstrate the platform's capacity to increase organizational efficiency and success.

Why you should not switch to Teams after S4B retirement

Despite the benefits, however, there are several reasons why some firms may choose not to move to Teams following the Skype for Business retirement, ranging from on-premise deployment limits to security and integration issues. This is especially important for organizations in highly regulated industries such as Government and Defense, Finance, and Healthcare.

Finally, businesses should assess their specific needs and weigh all available possibilities before choosing a Skype for Business alternative.

1. No on-premise deployment

In Skype vs Teams debate, one major disadvantage of Teams is the lack of on-premise deployment alternatives. Unlike Skype for Business, which allowed enterprises to keep control over their infrastructure by hosting servers on-site, Teams is entirely cloud-based. 

Skype for Business retirement

This limitation may not be compatible with some organizations' infrastructure preferences, particularly those with stringent regulatory requirements or data sovereignty concerns.

2. Security concerns

GDPR compliance is critical for European firms dealing with sensitive data. However, the security protections in Teams may not entirely meet GDPR's rigorous criteria. 

While Microsoft has added several security safeguards within Teams, such as encryption and compliance certifications, some firms may still be wary of sending their data to a cloud-based platform. 

📚 Learn more about GDPR-compliant messaging.

3. Unbundling from the Office

Unlike earlier offers, MS Teams is now distinct from the Microsoft Office suite. This means that consumers can no longer rely on Microsoft Office as a combined product, potentially increasing expenses or creating logistical issues for enterprises that rely significantly on Office applications. 

On the other hand, it's liberating. You don't have to use Teams anymore.

After unbundling Teams from the MS Office, organizations are not forced to use Teams anymore. Instead, leaders can choose another tool for their business that better fits their needs.

4. User interface and cost

While Teams provides a variety of communication and collaboration functions, some users may feel that other products have a better user interface and pricing structure. 

Depending on an organization's specific needs, competitor platforms may provide a more intuitive user experience or a more competitive price, making them a more appealing MS Teams alternative.

The best alternative for secure team communication after Skype for Business retires

Rocket.Chat stands out as one of the most secure team communication apps following Skype for Business retirement. 

It emerges as the most adaptable solution, providing on-premise and air-gapped collaboration options for complete data management.

Rocket.Chat offers secure and decentralized communication by providing smooth cross-platform connectivity via bridges. Its features, including encrypted collaboration tools, federation capabilities, and GDPR-compliant messaging, make it the best option for security-conscious enterprises. 

Contact our sales team to learn more and move smoothly before Skype for Business services are discontinued.

Frequently asked questions about <anything>

Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
Related Article:
Team collaboration: 5 reasons to improve it and 6 ways to master it
Want to collaborate securely with your team?
Deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise or in the cloud and keep your conversations private.
  • Digital sovereignty
  • Federation capabilities
  • Scalable and white-labeled
Talk to sales
Looking for a HIPAA-ready communications platform?
Enable patients and healthcare providers to securely communicate without exposing their data.
  • Highly scalable and secure
  • Full patient conversation history
  • HIPAA-ready
Talk to sales
The #1 communications platform for government
Deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise, in the cloud, or air-gapped environment.
  • Secure data governance and digital sovereignty
  • Trusted by State, Local, and Federal agencies across the world
  • Matrix federation capabilities for cross-agency communication
Talk to sales
Want to customize Rocket.Chat according to your own preferences?
See behind the engine and change the code how you see fit.
  • Open source code
  • Highly secure and scalable
  • Unmatched flexibility
Talk to sales
Looking for a secure collaboration platform?
Keep your conversations private while enjoying a seamless collaboration experience with Rocket.Chat.
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cloud or on-prem deployment
  • Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
Talk to sales
Want to build a highly secure in-app chat experience?
Use Rocket.Chat’s APIs, frameworks, and managed backend to build a secure in-app or live chat experience for your customers.
  • Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
  • Highly secure and flexible
  • On-prem or cloud deployment
Talk to sales

Our best content, once a week

Share this on:

Get your free, personalized demo now!

Build the most secure chat experience for your team or customers

Book demo