Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 news and opinions

What is the date customers have to move from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams?

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash.

Updated 30th July 2019: SfB Online end date announced 

Skype for Business Online will be retired 31st July 2021

In a blog on the Microsoft Teams blog, Microsoft has officially announced the mainstream support end date/end of service for Skype for Business Online as 31st July 2021.

Between now and 31st July 2021, current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service, and they’ll be able to continue to add new users as needed.

My blog with details here

Skype for Business Online or Skype for Business Server?

Somewhat frustratingly, Microsoft just talks about “Skype for Business” not defining if they mean Server or Online,  which leads to some confusion. Again, all things being even, Microsoft believes the cloud/Office 365 is best, and would rather have customers on Microsoft Teams than Skype for Business, either Server or Online.

However, Skype for Business Server 2019 was released in October 2018 (alongside Exchange Server 2019 and SharePoint Server 2019). Skype for Business Server 2015 and 2019 have committed mainstream support to 2020 and 2023 respectively and extended support to 2025. If you are on Skype for Business Server and want to stay on it for whatever business, commercial or technical reasons, you have until the mainstream and/or extended support dates.

There are also a number of companies who will host Skype for Business Server for you “as a service” / “from the cloud” (their cloud). So the same Skype for Business Server supportability dates will apply to them.

This does not mean Skype for Business Server will be getting big new features. There are updates already committed in Skype for Business Server 2019 CU1, but these are mostly around administration improvements. The vast majority of development is on Microsoft Teams and cloud. You can consider Skype for Business in more of a mature supportability part of its lifecycle.

New Office 365 Customers now only have Microsoft Teams

From 1st October 2018, all new Office 365 tenants with below 500 seats are in Microsoft Teams only mode, no Skype for Business Online. 500 is an odd number since technically you sign up for Office 365 then add seats. There is nothing magic about the 500 number, it’s just Microsoft signalling that if you are “big” you can still ask us to enable Skype for Business Online in your new tenant, otherwise you are now Teams Only mode.

Existing customers are being automatically upgraded

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From November 1st 2018, Microsoft began “offering” ”Microsoft-driven automated upgrades” (migrations) Skype for Business Online customers to Microsoft Teams. The specifics are not well documented by Microsoft publicly, but these are for smaller seat count tenants who based on looking at usage of features, Microsoft believe are ready to move to Microsoft Teams. If no action is taken by the administrator they will be automatically upgraded to Microsoft Teams.

Customers who receive an offer for an automated upgrade, which is communicated via the Office 365 message centre and to email to tenant admins, do have the option of performing the upgrade on their own or to defer the automated upgrade. If you miss the messages and get auto-upgraded, you can talk to Office 365 support about rolling back.

There is no date where this upgrade will be forced

Office Pro Plus now includes Microsoft Teams by default

Just recently announced, Microsoft Teams client will be deployed by default as part of Office 365 Pro plus deployment

About the author

Tom Arbuthnot

A Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master, Tom Arbuthnot is Founder and Principal at Empowering.Cloud as well as a Solutions Director at Pure IP.

Tom stays up to date with industry developments and shares news and his opinions on his Tomtalks.blog, UC Today Microsoft Teams Podcast and email list. He is a regular speaker at events around the world.

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