Microsoft has announced it will drop Skype for Business Online, as it pushes customers onto its Microsoft Teams unified comms system instead.
In a blog post, Microsoft's senior product marketing manager, James Skay, said that the vendor will be encouraging customers to make the transition ahead of the cut-off date for Skype for Business Online on July 31, 2021.
"Starting September 1, 2019, we will on board all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling," he said.
"Please note that the Skype Consumer service and Skype for Business Server will both be unaffected by this announcement."
Microsoft foreshadowed today's announcement two years ago, when it first announced plans for Microsoft Teams to "become the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365, replacing Skype for Business Online over time".
Then, at its annual partner conference last year, it claimed it had made progress in adding all the features of Skype for Business Online to its Teams group-chat product, including: boss and delegate support, call queues, auto-attendant, consultative transfer, do-not-disturb breakthrough, the ability to forward a call to a group, out-of-office support and direct routing for bringing a user's own telephone service to Teams.
Skype for Business Online was launched as the vendor's key instant messaging (IM) software back in 2014, as a replacement to Microsoft's earlier IP-based comms services - Office Communicator and then Lync.
After two years of development, Microsoft are directing their users to Microsoft Teams, which the giant hopes will please even its "most demanding customers".
James Skay said that Microsoft is still working on adding new features to Teams, including allowing users to limit retention periods to as short as one day.
"Once data is deleted it will be removed from all permanent storage locations in Teams…This feature will be available in Teams by the end of calendar 2019."
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