MICROSOFT HAS RELEASED more of the ‘we know what's best for you' fairies to announce the closure of Skype for Business Online.
In a move that has been expected and dreaded in equal measure, the company has confirmed that it will shut down Skype for Business Online at the end of July 2021.
The move represents a push towards its Microsoft Teams product, a Slack-alike which recently overtook Slack in user numbers, according to… well, Microsoft, now you mention it.
Starting in September 2019, all new Office 365 customers will be ‘onboarded' straight to Teams for Skype functionality such as chats, file sharing and nausea inducement.
Quoth Microsoft: "Over the last two years, we've worked closely with customers to refine Teams, and we now feel we're at the point that we can confidently recommend it as an upgrade to all Skype for Business Online customers.
"Customers who have already made the move tell us that Teams not only has helped them improve collaboration generally, it has also provided a rare opportunity to rethink the way work gets done in their organizations."
In the meantime, there should be no changes to the service you receive from Skype for Business Online, which will continue as normal until the shutdown date, though doubtless with some 'helpful' pop-ups along the way.
The blog post which announced the closure also points to a few new features which are on the way.
These include 'Dynamic 911', a way of routing your calls to your nearest operator, thus removing the barriers to making Teams your main phone service.
Also new will be a more granular set of options for retaining data. Much as Google did recently for its accounts, Microsoft has confirmed that soon you'll be able to wipe your data and start again every day if you want to.
At the moment, Skype for plebs and Microsoft Teams can't cross-communicate. This is due to be corrected by the end of the year, so you'll be able to call a Skype contact straight from Teams. Huzzah.
Finally, Microsoft is working with partners to bring full VoIP contact centre integration complete with call compliance recording. The company is pretty darn serious about making Teams a one-stop-shop. μ
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