Back in May of 2015, we did a post on which Skype for Business version businesses should use.

Since then, Microsoft has launched several major enhancements to Skype for Business, changed its focus from Server to Online, and beefed up its cloud capacity.

While I think the 2015 post is still accurate in terms of its comparisons, the whole ecosystem has changed. The “scope,” as it were, has broadened. Now we have numerous clients, platforms, and capabilities to choose from…as well as multiple competitors trying to reach the same customers.

Accordingly, I think it’s wise to start 2017 off with a snapshot of Skype for Business’ current state. What do we have available, what should admins know about, what’s the competition like, etc.

(Note: I will update this post semi-regularly going forward. If you see something we’re missing here, please email it to me so I can include it!)

The Skype for Business Ecosystem (as of January 2017)


  1. Skype for Business Server
  2. Skype for Business Online
    1. Subscriptions include Cloud PBX, PSTN Calling, and PSTN Conferencing.
  3. Skype Meetings
  4. Skype Teams
  5. Skype Room Systems & Microsoft Surface Hub
Skype Meetings Settings
Wow, lots of Skype for Business tools!


Quick Reference: What’s the difference between Skype, Skype Meetings, and Skype for Business?


Windows Client
Mac Client
iOS App
Android App (Google Play)
Windows Phone App
Skype Meetings (Web Tool)

Skype for Business Competitors

First, a caveat: This will not be a comprehensive list!

Since Skype for Business contains many different tools, competitors stack up for each. Some competitors target one type of tool (video conferencing), while others go for a more comprehensive communications platform (like Skype4B itself).


Targeted Tools:Office 365 Services
Google Hangouts


Comprehensive Communications Platform:
Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager)
WhatsApp (Getting more full-featured all the time, it seems…)


We’ve done some “competitor comparisons” on the blog, for your reference:


Looking at the Skype for Business ecosystem going forward
Image credit: Veronika Balasyuk

Potential for More Major Changes Coming This Year

This is where the Skype for Business ecosystem is, as of January 2017. What changes the year will bring, we cannot fully say. But we’ll blog about them all year long! (So don’t forget to subscribe. Top right.)

We do know some of Microsoft’s goals for the year. Skype for Business Advanced Analytics for one. Skype Room Systems – formerly Project Rigel – for another. (I have seen some of the products; they’re impressive!) And international expansions of Skype for Business capabilities as well.

Adoption level, competitor movements? We’ll see, won’t we?


What Skype for Business does your business have for 2017? Please comment or email.

Join us here next week for our first guest post of 2017!

The State of the Skype for Business Ecosystem

4 thoughts on “The State of the Skype for Business Ecosystem

  • January 4, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Please maintain a changelog of WHAT has been updated and WHEN, otherwise nobody will check back to this blog post for updates regularly.

  • January 4, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Oh, and by the way, due to the inconveniently “too narrow main content placement” blog theme, a LOT of screen area is wasted. So personally myself I am not a big fan of reading your posts here in its original format, rather in my RSS reader. Its your blog, you use the theme you prefer of course, just wanted to let you know aesthetically its a pain to read long posta due to narrow main content column and frequent word/image wrapping.

  • January 5, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I would like to know what MS is doing for its On-Prem deployments. We are not moving to Office 365 for SfB anytime soon.

    • January 5, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Hi Dan,
      Thanks for commenting. I completely understand your wanting to stay on-prem, and support your doing so. Many businesses have to, whether for compliance, security, or other reasons.

      Right now, MS is focusing on its cloud services first, and on-prem second. We saw this in how the Skype Operations Framework (see previous post) targets cloud deployments first, hybrid second, and moving from on-prem SfB to cloud third.

      Unfortunately, this is the direction Microsoft is going across the board. (Good thing there’s IT agencies like us to build & maintain on-prem SfB!)


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