Last month (6.23.2016), we shared a round-up of social video launches and enhancements that seem based on the assumption that everyone desparately wants to video chat with or broadcast to co-workers, clients,  friends and the world. As we also said then, it appears that “video is it” when it comes to social networks. It’s the field everyone wants to be playing on.

Now it’s Microsoft/Skype’s turn to launch something

To be honest, it is a little bit confusing to understand exactly what Skype (a part of Microsoft) is launching. Yesterday (7.5.2016), Skype announced the launch of a free version of its service called Skype Meetings.

The confusing parts of the announcement are these:

  • There’s already a service called Skype for Business that is fully integrated with all the software in Microsoft’s Office 365 and compatible third-party software.
  • There’s already a free version of the familiar version of Skype, which is touted as a video conferencing solution for companies up to 20.

Here’s the likely reason for the confusing product names and pricing:

According to, “the goal (of Skype Meetings) is to entice small teams to try out Skype and then upgrade to either the video chat app’s more fully featured version or subscribe to an Office 365 business plan that includes Skype.”

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

We confess. Despite our best efforts, the following list may not be accurate. When lining up the products side-by-side, we found various pricing on the Skype website for products that seem the same. Bottomline: There is a free version (Skype) and a professional paid version (Microsoft Office 365) and something in-between (Skype Meetings that is free until it’s not.)



What it is | The version of Skype that you use at home can be used by small businesses of up to 20 employees.

Price | Free to use, unless you want to buy credit to make calls to landlines and mobiles.

Features | Partial list (complete list)

Start using immediately (desktop or browser app versions)
Up to 25 people on group audio calls

Link |

SKYPE welcome

Skype Meetings

What it is | Available for anyone in the U.S. with a business email address whose organization doesn’t already have an Office 365 business subscription that includes Skype for Business. This is a freemium model in that some key features are available only for a limited time. As soon as you sign up you can start conferencing with up to 10 people for the first 60 days. After that, the free use is limited to 3 people.

Features | Partial list (complete list)

Personal URL you can use to invite participants to join meetingsScreen sharing
Laser pointer
Collaborative whiteboard
Controls (e.g. mute or unmute participants)
Works with PC/Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android

Pricing | (According to blog post.) Free for up to 10 people for first 60 days. After that, limited to 3 people.

Link | Skype Meetings on


Skype for Business

What it is | Skype for Business is included in Office 365, Microsoft’s suite of cloud-based software (e.g., PowerPoint)

Features | Partial list

In addition to the features found in Skype Meetings, features include
Up to 250 people can be added to online meetings
Unlimited number of meetings
Enterprise-grade security
Management of employee accounts
Integrated into Microsoft Office apps

Pricing | Pricing based on Microsoft Office 365 subscription

Link | Skype for Business

(via: Skype support)


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