FAQ — Upgrading from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

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Watch the following videos for guidance on planning a successful upgrade from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams:

Skype for Business Online retirement

Why is Microsoft Teams replacing Skype for Business Online?

Microsoft Teams expands on the capabilities in Skype for Business Online by bringing together files, chats, and apps in an integrated app, with functionality that enables organizations to move faster and collaborate more efficiently. Because of the richer set of experiences offered in Teams, it replaces Skype for Business as the core communications client for Office 365.

When is the retirement of Skype for Business Online?

Skype for Business Online will retire on July 31, 2021. Skype for Business Online customers should see no change to the service before the retirement date. Read Skype for Business Online to Be Retired for more details.

Will current Skype for Business Online customers be able to add new seats to their tenant?

Yes. Current Skype for Business Online customers may add new seats to their tenant with the understanding they will eventually need to transition these users to Microsoft Teams.

What is the future of Skype for Business Server?

We recognize that customers are using Skype for Business Server and many need to continue to use Skype for Business Server for some users or geographies due to their requirements. In these instances, we encourage organizations to adopt Teams along with Skype for Business Server to drive teamwork and collaboration. The latest version of Skype for Business Server 2019 was released in October 2018 with initial mainstream support planned through January 9, 2024.

What does this mean for existing Office 365 customers?

We’ve brought the key set of Skype for Business Online capabilities into Teams along with new voice, video, and meetings innovation. We encourage all Office 365 customers to start using Teams today, whether independently or side by side with Skype for Business.

Will you continue to invest in improving Skype for Business Online?

We plan to support the Skype for Business Online and client through the July 31, 2021 retirement date.

Starting September 1, 2019, all new Office 365 customers will be onboarded to Teams and will not have access to Skype for Business Online. Tenants already using Skype for Business Online will be able to continue doing so (including provisioning new users) until they complete their transition to Teams.

What do you recommend for customers who are currently in the process of deploying — or planning to deploy — Skype for Business in Office 365?

Customers currently deploying Skype for Business Online may continue to do so. We encourage all new Office 365 customers to start using Teams, independently of or in parallel with Skype for Business and determine the path (coexistence or Teams only) and timing that meets their business needs. Regardless of tenure with Skype for Business Online, customers will need to move to Teams before the Skype for Business Online retirement date.

What support do you offer customers who want to move to Teams, especially those who have made significant investments in Skype for Business Online?

We encourage all Skype for Business customers to begin deploying Teams and planning their upgrades. We’ll assist customers who want to move users to Teams with tools and guidance to control and manage the process. Prescriptive guidance is at https://aka.ms/SkypetoTeams. We’ll help ease the transition for users new to Teams with a specialized first-run experience and in-product coach marks. FastTrack, instructor-led training, customer support, and partners are available to help guide customers through the transition. In addition, Microsoft is hosting Upgrade Workshops to help with upgrade planning.

What does this mean from a licensing perspective? How will customers pay for Intelligent Communications services in Teams?

Teams is available in Office 365 suites. Capabilities that are premium workloads in Skype for Business Online today will continue to be premium workloads in Teams. Existing licensing investments made by customers carry forward to Teams. For example, if a customer has purchased Audio Conferencing standalone or as part of E5 with Skype for Business, Audio Conferencing will be enabled in Teams as it’s available today.

Is Microsoft planning scheduled upgrades?

Currently, we have no plans to schedule upgrades for enterprise customers. Customers can choose to move to Teams as it makes sense for their organizations before the July 31, 2021 retirement date for Skype for Business Online. We’ll empower administrators and users with tools and guidance to help with the transition to Teams.

In effort to support smaller customers that may not have dedicated IT resources, Microsoft is assisting with automated upgrades from Skype for Business Online to Teams. Eligible customers are notified of the upgrade through emails and Message Center notifications. More details are provided in the communications. For more information, see Automated Upgrades from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams.

How does the Skype for Business Online retirement announcement affect organizations with hybrid configurations (Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server)?

Hybrid customers with online and on-prem configurations will be required to transition users from Skype for Business Online to Microsoft Teams by the July 31, 2021 retirement date. Upgrade paths for hybrid configurations built around principles of coexistence and interoperability will remain after the retirement of Skype for Business Online.

Customers with eligible subscriptions are encouraged to engage with FastTrack for Teams onboarding assistance.

Skype for Business to Teams upgrade

Is there a firm deadline by which customers need to move from Skype for Business Online to Teams?

Yes. Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021, at which point it will no longer be accessible or supported. We encourage Skype for Business Online customers to start using Teams and begin planning their upgrades now to allow ample time to complete upgrade prior to the retirement date.

How long will it take to upgrade my organization to Teams?

Your organization's journey from Skype for Business to Teams can be defined by you. To assist in your planning and execution, we’ve developed comprehensive upgrade guidance based upon a proven framework designed to help you navigate the technical and organizational elements of change. Start your journey by familiarizing yourself with our upgrade success framework and associated resources that serve as the cornerstone for navigating your journey from Skype for Business to Teams.

Customers are encouraged to plan your journey from Skype for Business Online to Teams leveraging the planning guidance and resources at https://aka.ms/SkypetoTeams to identify and implement the upgrade path that best meets your organization’s needs.

Where can I learn more about coexistence modes in the Microsoft Teams admin center?

Within the Microsoft Teams admin center, you’ll notice options for coexistence modes, enabling your organization to manage the Skype for Business to Teams journey that’s right for your organization. Learn more about coexistence and upgrade modes.

What should I do to prepare for my upgrade?

A successful upgrade will include validating technical readiness in addition to user acceptance readiness. Even if you determine your organization isn’t quite ready to upgrade to Teams, you can begin the planning process today. Further, you can start realizing the value of Teams by enabling Teams alongside Skype for Business. Get started on your Skype to Teams journey today.

Microsoft also offers live, interactive workshops in which we’ll share guidance, best practices, and resources designed to kick start upgrade planning and implementation. Learn about upgrade planning workshops.

My organization is already running Teams alongside Skype for Business. Can I just disable Skype for Business?

No, you'll want to switch users to Teams only mode to complete the upgrade to Teams. If your organization is ready to upgrade to Teams, take time to communicate to users to let them know what’s happening and allow them to acclimate to Teams. This will help ensure they have a positive upgrade experience and help alleviate calls to your helpdesk. For sample communication templates, download our Upgrade Success Kit.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the upgrade process?

For questions related to your upgrade, reach out to your current points of contact, which might include your assigned Microsoft account team, partner, or FastTrack. Alternatively, you can open a help ticket from within your Microsoft Teams admin center.

Do I upgrade all users on my tenant together, or can I opt to upgrade select users at a time?

You have the flexibility to upgrade users to Teams as it makes sense for you, whether it’s individuals, groups of users, or your entire organization. To help understand the optimal approach for your organization, review the various coexistence and upgrade modes you can enable.

What happens after my users are upgraded?

After your users are upgraded to Teams (Teams only mode):

  • Their Skype for Business client will be disabled for use as all chat and calls will go to Teams. This client will continue to be used for previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings. If this desktop client is uninstalled, users will be redirected to access previously scheduled Skype for Business meetings via the Skype for Business web app.

  • Any Skype for Business meetings scheduled before the upgrade will work as designed, but all new meetings will be scheduled in Teams.

  • If users attempt to sign in to Skype for Business, they’ll get a notification from their client that they’ve been upgraded to Teams.

  • Users will need to manually uninstall the Skype for Business client on their mobile device.

Will users still be able to use Skype for Business after I activate the upgrade notification in their client?

Yes, the upgrade notification will simply alert users that Skype for Business will be upgrading to Teams and invite them to get started with Teams if they haven’t already. We recommend complementing this notification with an awareness campaign (emails, FAQs, helpdesk readiness, posters/signage) to communicate further details specific to your organization, such as timing for the upgrade, calls-to-action for the user, access to training, and so on. For communication templates, download our Upgrade Success Kit.

Microsoft Teams capabilities and roadmap

What are the benefits of Teams' back-end infrastructure?

Teams is built for the cloud on a highly scalable microservices architecture that’s efficient in bandwidth consumption, provides more robust telemetry, and enables maintenance and upgrades with minimal disruption. As a result, users see faster meeting join times and a better browser experience without needing to download plug-ins. This modern infrastructure makes it easy to tap into Microsoft Cognitive Services—which include transcription, translation, speech recognition, and machine learning capabilities—and have the power to make communication and collaboration easier and more effective.

How can customers learn when Skype for Business capabilities will be available in Teams?

See the Microsoft 365 Roadmap.

Which APIs and SDKs will be made available for Teams?

Visit the Microsoft Teams developer platform for information about available APIs and SDKs.

Will you support third-party development opportunities in Teams?

Yes, app integration is one of the key benefits of adopting Teams. We currently support third-party bots, connectors, and extensions in Teams. In addition, we have a large ecosystem of add-ins available in the Microsoft Teams app store.

Is Teams available in Office 365 Education?

Teams is available in all Office 365 for Education suite licensing: Education, Education Plus, and Education E5, in addition to existing Education E3 customers who purchased E3 before it was retired.

Is Teams available in the government community cloud (GCC)?

Yes, Teams is available for the US Government Cloud Community (GCC). Learn more.

Calling capabilities

What is the plan for Microsoft’s online voice capabilities?

The core of our voice solution is Phone System which is available today. Customers can additionally add a Microsoft Calling Plan which provides complete support for calling including number acquisition and assignment directly in Office 365. Customers who want to keep their telecom telephone trunks can use Direct Routing – which is included as part of Phone System. Mix and match both together as you see fit for your organization’s needs to have a complete voice solution.

What is the guidance for customers already deployed on Phone System (Cloud PBX) in Skype for Business Online?

Calling in Microsoft Teams is ready for all your communication needs. We encourage all Microsoft 365 customers to start using Teams, independently of or in parallel with Skype for Business.

What is the guidance for customers using Enterprise Voice today who want to move to Teams and use calling capabilities?

Customers interested in bringing their own telephone service to Teams can now do so with the general availability of Direct Routing. Direct Routing and Calling Plans are the two choices for dial tone in Microsoft Teams.

Meeting capabilities

Is Audio Conferencing coverage in Teams different in Skype for Business?

There will be no change in the coverage for Audio Conferencing as a result of its availability in Teams. The coverage of 90+ countries and 400+ cities we have today will continue to persist in both products. For the current list, see Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans.

Are third-party audio conferencing providers (ACP) supported in Teams?

There are no plans to support third-party audio conferencing providers (ACP) in Teams. We believe the best audio conferencing experience for customers using Teams and Skype for Business will be to use our Audio Conferencing services in Office 365. Customers who need to leverage ACP support in Skype for Business meetings can continue to use their Skype for Business client to join Skype for Business meetings. Meetings scheduled in Teams will need to utilize the Audio Conferencing services of Office 365.

Support for the integration of third-party party Audio Conferencing Providers (ACP) into Skype for Business Online has been extended to July 31, 2021, with limited support for remaining active tenants to allow additional time for transition.  This is an update in the ACP timeline announced in April 2018.

What’s the plan for video interoperability support for Teams meetings?

Meeting room devices are critical to our vision for the modern workplace. Cloud video interoperability services to support Teams meetings with existing VTC systems are available through our partners Pexip, Polycom, and Blue Jeans.

Will the latest generation of Skype Room Systems v2 support meetings in Teams?

We rebranded Skype Room Systems to Microsoft Teams Rooms which fully supports Microsoft Teams meetings and offer an easy migration path from Skype for Business to Teams by just enabling Teams on the device.

In addition to the ability for users to identify nearby Microsoft Teams Rooms with proximity detection, Teams meetings can be joined with a single-click, dual screen support, Microsoft Whiteboard and we continue to bring innovative features like content camera with intelligent capture.

Will Skype Room Systems v1 be updated to support Teams meetings?

Lync Room System (LRS) devices with Skype Room System Version 1 (SRS v1) software has reached end of support on October 9, 2018. This means Skype Room Systems v1 software will no longer get any product updates or fixes anymore. Customers with Lync Room System devices using Skype Room System v1 software are advised to upgrade their devices to Microsoft Teams Rooms. Learn more.

Management capabilities

What are the management experiences for Teams?

Like the Skype for Business Admin Console, the Microsoft Teams admin center within the Microsoft 365 admin center is the single place to administer new Teams experiences. With this portal, administrators can create custom presence, chat, app, meeting, and voice policies and assign those policies to Teams users.

Device compatibility

Can I use Teams on Surface Hub?

Teams meetings is now available on Surface Hub with Calling and Meetings experiences. For more information, see Deploy Microsoft Teams for Surface Hub.

Will current third-party IP (3PIP) phones continue to work with Microsoft Teams? And if so, how long?

After the Skype for Business Online retirement date of July 31, 2021, users with 3PIP devices who have been migrated over to Teams only will be able to continue using their 3PIP devices with a limited set of functionalities until July 31, 2023.

Will certified Skype for Business online phones work with Teams?

For questions related to phone compatibility, read Certified Skype for Business Online Phones and what this means for Teams.