For many individuals, Skype (opens in new tab) was the originator of remote video communication. The platform was originally launched all the way back in 2003 and quickly became an essential tool for families and friends looking to communicate over long distances. Skype was eventually acquired by Microsoft in 2011 and now has to compete with a huge number of other video conferencing tools (opens in new tab), including another one developed by its owner, Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab).
Although Skype has continued to exist following the Microsoft acquisition, it has become increasingly clear that the Redmond-based firm is willing to direct more of its energies to its Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab) brand. In fact, earlier this year, Microsoft formally announced that Skype for Business would no longer be supported, inviting businesses to migrate to Teams instead.
With Skype for Business now defunct, it’s unlikely that larger organizations would choose to use the original Skype over Microsoft Teams, but smaller firms may prefer the simplicity offered by the consumer-centric Skype over the complexity of Teams. The nostalgia (and habit) of using Skype may also prove too difficult for some users to walk away from.
In this guide, we’ve collected all the information you need to decide whether Skype or Microsoft Teams is best for your business, comparing plans and pricing, features, security and more.
Plans and pricing
Both Skype and Microsoft Teams are free to use. The main difference between the two platforms is that Teams has a more complex pricing structure, which offers users more flexibility depending on the size of the organization that they represent.
Microsoft Teams’ paid packages are included as part of various Microsoft 365 subscriptions. At the cheapest level, Microsoft 365 Business Basic costs $5.00/£3.80/AU$6.90 per user per month, while Microsoft 365 Business Standard costs $12.50/£9.40/AU$17.20 per user per month. The most expensive option, Microsoft 365 Premium, adds advanced security and privacy features, as well as a greater range of device management options and will cost your business $20.00/£15.10/AU$27.50 per user per month.
There are advantages that come with these more expensive plans, however. The free version of Teams, for example, comes with restrictions around the time limits and the number of participants you can have for each meeting. Microsoft Business Basic also comes with the ability to schedule and record meetings and boasts a file storage capacity of 1TB per user.
There’s not much to say regarding the pricing structure that accompanies Skype. The platform is free to use, but individuals will have to purchase credit if they want to make calls to landlines or mobiles. Skype credit can be purchased as part of monthly plans that vary in price depending on which country an individual is calling.
Individuals can also purchase a Skype Number as a second phone number that is attached to their Skype account. There is also a Skype To Go service, providing a pay-as-you-go option for individuals or businesses that want to make international calling more affordable.
One of the most useful features that accompanies Skype is that it allows users to record and save calls for up to 30 days after a meeting is complete. Other features that users are sure to enjoy include the ability to add live captions to video calls. There’s also a live translation option for up to 10 languages spoken simultaneously. There’s also an in-call chat window and users can create polls, insert files from OneDrive or their computer, and even share music from Spotify.
With Skype for Business no longer in existence, it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will continue adding features to the consumer-focused version of Skype or whether that too will eventually be discontinued. If that does occur, it’s likely that Skype users will also be invited to use Teams.
If you are thinking of making the switch, you will find a raft of useful features already on offer through Teams. These include chat functionality, the ability to set up channels and teams, audio conferencing, and full telephony functionality. Over the past year or so, Microsoft has also been regularly adding new features to Teams, so expect upgrades to continue coming.
On the surface, there would appear to be little difference in the level of security offered to users of Skype and Microsoft Teams. After all, both platforms are developed by Microsoft. Like Teams, all communications involving Skype, including all voice, video, file transfers, and instant messages, are encrypted.
However, Teams does boast some more robust security features, including the ability to set retention policies for information. This means that organizations can make conversations inactive or even delete them after a certain period of time, helping them to meet certain compliance standards. In addition, individual policies can be set for private chats or channel messages.
Teams has a wide range of support options for its users, including step-by-step setup guides, online webinars, and training videos. More advanced technical problems can hopefully be resolved through live chat support and a customer call-back line, while an active community forum is always available for extra assistance.
Skype offers a similarly wide-ranging list of support options, including an extensive FAQ section of its website. However, the fact that Skype for Business has been discontinued means that there is no longer a dedicated phone helpline for business customers. This means that they might find the support process more long-winded than Teams users.
Despite the fact that Skype for Business is no more, old-fashioned regular Skype still has its uses. For individuals or businesses with 20 employees or less, it continues to provide the same intuitive video calling experience that has been around for almost two decades.
However, for many businesses, the limited functionality that comes with Skype simply won’t be able to meet all their needs. That means that Teams, with its greater list of features and its additional collaboration options, will certainly be more appealing to larger organizations.
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