Disclaimer: Skype for Business has been replaced by Microsoft Teams since September 2019. Its service will be fully inaccessible starting July 31, 2021. To view the updated review, please click here.
Skype for Business is a video conferencing software with instant messaging features that are integrated within the Office 365 ecosystem. It provides teams, co-workers, and clients with a platform for remote communication and collaboration, along with cross-device communication, end-to-end security, server deployment, and more. It costs $3 to $10/month and is best for corporate and online teams.
Skype for Business Pros and Cons
Centralized platform for communications
Lack of reporting options
Seamless integration with Microsoft Office
Does not support landline calls
Who Skype for Business is Best For
- Online teams: Wide availability for online meetings, and real-time collaboration with team members
- Businesses of all sizes: Supports small team meetings and up to 250 video conference participants
Skype for Business Pricing
Skype for Business pricing is included in Microsoft Office 365’s suite of products. It offers three plans: Business Essentials ($3/user/month), Business ($10/user/month), and Business Premium ($10/user/month). The main differences between the plans include email hosting and access to premium features such as online meetings hosting and video conferencing.
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*Annual plans are paid in full at the beginning of the billing cycle.
All Skype for Business plans have can support up to a maximum of 300 users. The plans do not include taxes which could vary depending on the state. It also offers a free 14-day trial for all subscription plans.
The Business Essentials plan includes email hosting with a 50GB mailbox and a custom email domain address. It features a hub for teamwork, which allows online collaboration among team members. It is best for teams that need a business email. It only includes web versions of the applications and not a full software download license.
The Business plan includes desktop versions of Office applications. The license covers fully-installed, always up-to-date apps on five phones, five tablets, and five PCs or Macs per user. It is best-suited for businesses that need Office apps, as well as cloud storage and sharing. It does not include a custom email domain address.
The Business Premium plan includes all the benefits of the Business Essentials and Business plans. It provides email hosting, a teamwork hub, and cloud and desktop access to Office applications. It also features group high-definition (HD) video conferencing, desktop and app sharing, and meeting recording. It works best for businesses that need comprehensive email and Office solutions.
Skype for Business Alternatives
Video Conferencing Software
Anybody looking for a free to low-priced screen-sharing software for hosting virtual meetings
Starts at $14.99/host/month
Companies that already use GoTo products like GoToConference and GoToWebinar
Companies that want a full VoIP service plan as well as screen-sharing software
Starts at $19.99/user/month for two to 20 users (paid yearly)
Budget-conscious teams wanting to collaborate using screen-sharing technology without paying for service
Free + 3.9¢/minute for toll-free calling for meetings
Freelancers, solopreneurs, and small teams that want the ability to host video and audio conferences at a low price
Free, and paid version costs $15/user/month
Organizations wanting free integration with Salesforce, G Suite, Slack, and other business applications
Starts at $10/user/month
Which Video Conferencing Software Is Right for You?
Skype for Business Features
Skype for Business features help teams collaborate with each other in real time. It also allows users to communicate through online meetings with both their colleagues and clients. Here is a deeper explanation of Skype for Business’ most important features.
Skype for Business offers free online meetings for up to 10 people for 60 days even without a subscription. Subscribers can also invite anyone to join an online meeting using any device. It provides a personalized URL that can easily be sent to other team members or clients.
Users can easily record meetings, share screens, and annotate PowerPoint presentations in real-time. They can also collaborate with up to 250 people. Additional features, such as whiteboard, polls, Q&A, and built-in instant messaging, are also available during business meetings.
Microsoft Office 365 Integration
Skype for Business is fully integrated within the Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem. This seamless integration makes it easier for users to share Microsoft Office files with one another. This also allows users to send meeting invites directly from their Outlook calendar.
Users have the option to purchase certified hardware, such as USB speakerphones, HD cameras, and headsets to make their online meeting experience even better.
Most Helpful Skype for Business Reviews
Those who gave Skype for Business reviews online commented that it is helpful in facilitating online collaboration between team members. They added that it has a good user interface loaded with features that help users communicate and collaborate better. Some, however, commented that there are lacking tools, particularly backend reporting and management.
Unified communications channel
Users who gave positive Skype for Business reviews commended the software for being a good video conferencing solution that has a unified communications channel for online teams. They like its seamless integration with other Microsoft Office apps, which allows users to connect with others more effectively and efficiently. They added that it is easily accessible because it is available in most mobile and desktop platforms.
Additional features and connectivity issues
Some users wished for additional important features such as reporting and landline calls. Some also reported that the video conferencing feature suffers from bugs, and disconnects when the internet connectivity is not optimal. Some experienced glitches with their video feeds even if they have no problems with their internet connection.
Skype for Business Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can personal Skype users access Skype for Business?
No. Skype for Business users need to log in using their Active Directory ID, and not their personal Skype account name. They are entirely separate, hence, personal and work contacts will not be merged. Personal Skype and Skype for Business also require separate mobile apps and desktop clients.
Does Skype for Business support emergency calls?
No. Skype for Business is not meant as a replacement for telephones, and cannot be used to make emergency calls.
Can Skype for Business handle large-scale broadcasts?
Yes. Skype for Business supports video conferences for up to 250 people. It can also broadcast Skype Meetings to up to 10,000 people at any given time.
Our Top Video Conferencing Picks
If you aren’t sure if Skype for Business is right for you, this article on the Best Web Conferencing Software is a review of our top choices. Our team looked at a variety of solutions and narrowed down our recommendations based on price, features, and customer support.