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HomeRemote WorkTop 6 video conferencing tools to replace Skype for Business

Top 6 video conferencing tools to replace Skype for Business


 

In 2003, Skype conference calls became synonymous with all video calls. Video chatting was primarily something we did at home to connect with distant friends and family, and to video chat, many of us clicked on Skype. It became a verb – “When you get home, let’s Skype” – and was synonymous with all video calls, whether they were Skype conference calls or not.

Over the first decade of its existence, Skype was used in boardrooms and the home offices of remote workers. Then, in 2015, it got a promotion, and Skype for Business was born. But what happened to Skype conference calls? And what can you use as an alternative?

What is Skype for Business?

Skype for Business was an enterprise communication tool developed by Microsoft that allowed for instant messaging, audio calls, video conferencing, and file sharing. It was designed for businesses and organizations that needed a secure and reliable way to communicate with employees, partners, and customers.

Some of the key features of Skype for Business include:

  • Instant messaging: Send and receive instant messages with individuals or groups.
  • Audio calls: Make and receive audio calls to individuals or groups.
  • Video conferencing: Host and participate in video conferences with up to 250 people.
  • File sharing: Share files with individuals or groups.
  • Screen sharing: Share your screen with others during a call or meeting.
  • Presence: See when your contacts are online and available.
  • Integration with other Microsoft products: Skype for Business integrated with other Microsoft products such as Outlook, SharePoint, and OneDrive.

What happened to Skype for Business?

Skype for Business was available as part of Microsoft 365 subscriptions, as well as a standalone product. However, Microsoft announced in 2019 that it would be retiring Skype for Business and replacing it with Microsoft Teams. As of October 31, 2025, Skype for Business Online will no longer be supported, and you will no longer be able to Skype with Skype for Business.

Why was Skype for Business retired? Microsoft cited several reasons for retiring Skype for Business, including:

  • The rise of Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a more modern and feature-rich communication tool than Skype for Business.
  • The need for a single communication platform: Microsoft wanted to consolidate its communication offerings into a single platform, Microsoft Teams.
  • The end of support for Silverlight: Skype for Business relied on Silverlight, a web browser plug-in that was no longer being supported by Microsoft.

6 Alternatives to Skype for Business

Since Skype for Business has been retired by Microsoft, here are some popular alternatives you can consider, each with its own strengths and weaknesses:

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based collaboration platform designed to streamline communication and teamwork within organizations. It combines features like instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and app integrations into a central hub, enabling teams to easily connect, share information, and work together in real time. Whether it’s brainstorming ideas, conducting virtual meetings, or co-editing documents, Teams offers a robust solution for enhancing productivity and fostering collaborative workstyles.

  • Pros: Seamless integration with other Microsoft products (Office 365, SharePoint, OneDrive), robust feature set (chat, video conferencing, file sharing, app integrations), familiar interface for Microsoft users.
  • Cons: Can be overwhelming for users not familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem, potential licensing costs for larger teams.

 

Zoom

Zoom is a widely used video conferencing platform known for its user-friendly interface and reliable performance. It allows individuals and teams to connect through video calls, audio calls, and webinars, with features like screen sharing, chat, and recording capabilities. While a free tier exists for basic needs, paid plans offer increased meeting durations, participant capacity, cloud storage, and advanced security options. While security concerns arose in the past, Zoom has made significant strides to address them. Overall, Zoom excels in providing seamless video communication experiences, making it a popular choice for personal and professional use.

  • Pros: User-friendly interface, reliable video conferencing with large participant capacity, free basic plan available.
  • Cons: Security concerns in the past, potential limitations on free plan (meeting duration, participant number).

 

Google Meet

Google Meet offers secure and reliable video conferencing within the Google Workspace ecosystem. Its strengths lie in seamless integration with other Google tools like Gmail, Calendar, and Drive, simplifying workflows and boosting productivity. The free tier allows video calls with up to 100 participants for an hour, ideal for casual meetings or small teams. Paid plans unlock extended meeting durations, live streaming, meeting recording, and noise cancellation for more professional needs. Although feature-wise it might not match some competitors, Meet shines in its ease of use, security, and tight integration with the Google suite, making it a compelling choice for individuals and organizations already invested in the Google ecosystem.

  • Pros: Secure and reliable video conferencing, tight integration with other Google Workspace tools (Gmail, Calendar, Drive), free basic plan available.
  • Cons: Limited features compared to some competitors, smaller free plan participant limit.

 

Slack

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration platform designed to revolutionize team communication. Think of it as a virtual office buzzing with organized “channels” dedicated to specific projects, departments, or topics. Team members can seamlessly exchange messages, share files, and collaborate in real time, fostering transparency and agility. It’s intuitiveness and robust integrations with various apps further boost productivity. While a free plan caters to basic needs, paid options unlock advanced features like guest access, message history retention, and priority support. Though lacking video conferencing, Slack excels in fostering asynchronous communication and knowledge sharing, making it a go-to tool for teams prioritizing information flow and collaboration.

  • Pros: Excellent for team communication and collaboration, wide range of integrations with other apps, free basic plan available.
  • Cons: Limited video conferencing capabilities may not be suitable for large organizations.

 

Cisco Webex Teams

Cisco Webex Teams is a secure and feature-rich collaboration platform designed for large organizations and enterprises. It combines features like persistent chat, video conferencing, file sharing, and whiteboard collaboration into a single, unified interface. Webex Teams boasts strong encryption and security features, ideal for organizations with strict data privacy requirements. The platform excels in large-scale video conferences, supporting up to 1000 participants, and offers advanced features like noise cancellation and virtual backgrounds. However, its complexity and potential licensing costs might deter smaller teams or individual users. Overall, Cisco Webex Teams prioritizes security, scalability, and advanced collaboration features, making it a powerful solution for large organizations seeking a comprehensive communication and collaboration platform.

  • Pros: Strong security features, reliable video conferencing with large participant capacity, good for large organizations.
  • Cons: Can be complex to set up and use, and potential licensing costs.

 

Skype

Skype allows you to communicate with any other Skype users for free via IM, voice, video and screen sharing, and conference calls for up to 25 people. Skype itself can be used for business, but it is best used for personal reasons or small organizations. For example, you could integrate Skype use into the workings of your small organization and have seamless communication throughout your team for free while also being able to communicate from any location on any device. 

  • Pros: Easy to learn and navigate and available on more devices, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
  • Cons: There are limitations in features, privacy concerns, and ads.

 

Ultimately, the best alternative for you will depend on your specific needs and budget. Consider factors such as team size, budget, desired features, security requirements, and integration with other tools you use.

With so many great alternatives, your Skype conference calls will continue to be as productive as ever. Video conferencing is an enhanced meeting experience, giving participants the opportunity to catch visual cues and body language and be an equal part of creative brainstorms or important company decisions. Owl Labs’ innovative ecosystem of video conferencing products is compatible with all of the alternatives listed above, empowering you to get face-to-face with coworkers at the click of a button.