Hello “Insiders!” I know I haven’t posted much lately. Went on a short vacation, and we’re now in the middle of 5 (yes, five!) website builds running at the same time

I’m also working on a couple big posts. The Time Lords willing, I’ll have them up before the end of the year.

In the meantime, let’s talk retirement.

Skype for Business Online Retirement
No, not that kind. Software retirement. Well, I guess it applies to some developers…
Photo by Elena Saharova on Unsplash.

Skype for Business (Online) Retiring in 2 Years

If you haven’t heard, MS will retire Skype for Business (Online) July 31, 2021. After that, it’s Teams all the way in Office 365.

No big surprise. We all knew it was coming. But what’s important for me to point out is that this retirement date only applies to the ONLINE version. The one on which Teams has chewed almost since its launch day.

That’s not the case for Skype for Business Server. Our good old on-prem version will stick around a while longer.

Skype4B Server Version Remains Supported Until 2025

Skype for Business Server 2015 mainstream support ends October 13, 2020. Extended support remains available until October 14, 2025.

Skype for Business Server 2019 will receive mainstream support until January 9, 2024. This is interesting though—its Extended support will also run until October 14, 2025.

Both versions of Skype for Business Server running out of support on the same date, a little more than 5 years hence. That’s still a good chunk of time to use the software.

Skype4B Conferencing
Let’s keep doing this.
Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash.

Where does this leave you? A retirement date that far out, and only on one version, means nobody needs to run around in headless-chicken mode. Here’s some suggestions depending on your current Skype4B situation:

  1. If you’re on Skype for Business Server 2019 or plan to migrate there soon – Keep doing what you’re doing. Let us know if you need help with setup.
  2. Running Skype for Business Server 2015? Consider a move to Server 2019 next year. You’ll still have plenty of time with full support to get your money’s worth.
  3. If you’re on Skype for Business Online & considering a move to Teams – Weigh the schedule in light of your workforce. If you have a large employee base, start planning now. If you’re in a smaller company, no need to panic. Run the move when you expect a slower time (does anyone have those anymore?).

If you fall under C, this post has some points about doing a “Skypexit” that may help out: Microsoft Techdays 2019: Skypexit with Marten – Kressmark Unified Communications

You Don’t Have to Move off Skype for Business (Server) if You Don’t Want To

If it sounds like I’m still swinging in Skype for Business Server’s defense…well, I am. I like the platform for its power and its usability. It has a reliable history to boot. In fact, we still have one customer running Lync Server on-prem! (I think we’ve tried to move them off for what, 2 years now?)

What do you think of the Skype for Business Online retirement?


One Version of Skype for Business Will Retire in 2021. The Other Version Won’t (Not Yet)

2 thoughts on “One Version of Skype for Business Will Retire in 2021. The Other Version Won’t (Not Yet)

  • September 6, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Great article the view looks great…

    Quick question i’m starting to prepare a business case for my orginisation to move from SFB 2015 on premise to Teams. We currently user Teams and operate in a island mode.

    Only issue is there doesn’t seem to be much of a compeling case to move , other than 2015 support finishing in oct 2020 and having to pay for extended support

    Any advice is appreaciated.

    • September 8, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Hi Paul, thanks for the comment. If you want to make a business case for moving everyone to Teams, here are a few items you could use.

      One, app integrations. Microsoft has added a large number of third-party integrations to Teams, and the number keeps growing. Depending on your stack, this could solve a big communications issue all on its own.

      Two, project management. Teams has more options for managing projects & teams dedicated to those projects than it did initially. Plus it just integrated Microsoft Lists, so you have a task manager built-in too.

      Three, phased user adoption. You can stretch the adoption process over time, group by group, to move everyone over. I wouldn’t recommend taking too long (e.g. more than 6 months), but it doesn’t have to come all at once.

      If your team does need help with the migration, please let us know. We’ve done quite a few of them this year!


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