Skype vs Skype for Business: What’s the Difference?
Skype is a communication tool powered by Microsoft, both in a free and business version. In 2015, Microsoft re-branded its office communication service, , to Skype for Business.
Skype for Business and Skype aren’t the same service, although they share a common name. They’re both unified communication solutions, with a similar logo and color scheme, but they’re so different in their functions and features.
The version of Skype you choose depends on elements like the size of your business, the number of people participating in the meetings, the devices, and apps the version supports, and whether you need the advanced features for business.
Here’s a detailed comparison of Skype vs Skype for Business, including the differences and advantages of each service.
What is Skype?
Skype is a VoIP service, which uses the Internet to enable people to make and receive voice and video calls online.
With more than 600 million active users, Skype is the most popular VoIP service, and ‘skyping’ is now popular as the term ‘googling.’
Besides one to one calls, people use Skype to make group calls, send instant messages, and share files with other users on Skype. You can use this service on your mobile, computer, or tablet. It’s free to download and easy to use.
If you want more features like call phones and send SMS – you can pay as you go or purchase a subscription. It means you can bring your entire ecosystem of workers, partners, and customers together to get things done.
What is Skype for Business?
It’s the software which allows users to interact through text messaging, audio, and HD video communication. The solution supports collaboration via video conferencing that can support multiple users using the Internet or phone.
You can use it from nearly any Windows PC or a mobile device with Internet access.
With this platform, an online meeting can also be recorded for use later on. Since the software is tightly integrated with Office apps, it enables people to share files and make presentations. You can check the online status of your contacts and schedule meetings with them using Microsoft Outlook.
You can also start a conversation from other Microsoft apps, like PowerPoint or Word. It facilitates texting and calling to cell and landline phones.
Skype – Main Characteristics
Check out why hundreds of millions use Skype to call and chat.
- Audio and HD video calling – Crystal clear audio and HD video in one to one or a group calls;
- Call phones – Reach users who aren’t online with affordable international calling rates to cells and landlines;
- Screen sharing – Easily share presentations, photos, or anything on the screen throughout a call with integrated screen sharing;
- Call recording and live subtitles – Record Skype calls to save audio data, note important decisions, and use live subtitles to read the spoken words;
- Private conversations – Keep the delicate conversations private with industry-standard and end to end encryption.
Skype for Business – Basic Features
It’s vastly different from the free Skype tool. It has many helpful features geared toward businesses of all sizes:
- Portability – It works good via all devices, from the desktop to Android and iOS. You and up to 250 of your co-workers can dial in from anywhere with an Internet connection and collaborate in audio, video, and web-based conferencing;
- Participant control dashboard – With this feature, you can mute individual attendees or block a user’s video if required. If you’re in the middle of a meeting and forgot to invite someone, just ping that person from Skype without leaving the conference;
- Calendar integration – It integrates with the Outlook calendar. This integration simplifies the scheduling of meetings and staying on top of tasks. It also includes a web scheduler that summarizes upcoming meetings with notes reflecting tasks and topics. It also allows you to join meetings from the web scheduler and invite others to participate;
- Recording and playback – Skype enables you to record all the aspects of the meeting, including video, audio, IM, whiteboard, or the entire session, for later review. You can also choose your resolution settings (HD is available) for playback;
- Whiteboard tools – You need to write on the whiteboard to illustrate your ideas or capture participant brainstorming sessions. This module allows you to perform that.
Skype vs Skype for Business
Differences between the two apps are primarily in the features and functionalities, with each favoring the use the app is made for. The main differences are in:
Number of users
Skype supports a maximum of 25 users, while Skype for Business supports a maximum of 250 participants. Skype for Business integrates Skype Meeting Broadcast – a feature that enables 10,000 participants to view the broadcast. The business version offers more meeting solutions and features than a free Skype. More control, and recording the meeting is possible, too.
Skype for Business integrates more with other applications from Microsoft than Skype. It’s packed within Office 365, which allows the use of apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others with ease.
The number of applications Skype for Business can integrate with depends on the plan. The more costly the plan, the more apps available for integration.
Both versions are compatible with Windows and Mac OS’s platforms. When it comes to compatibility with devices, Skype has more solutions. It connects to different external devices and apps without difficulty.
Skype for Business is a paid app, with the number of available features determining the price plan. Packages range from $6 to $15 a per month. Skype, on the contrary, is free, except for voice calls.
Both versions have their advantages and disadvantages. Skype doesn’t come with useful features for large organizations, being able to support less than 25 participants. The paid version is limited in features, too, with compatibility with apps from other sources can be difficult sometimes.
Skype for Business is enterprise-grade, therefore made to higher security features than Skype. Both versions feature TLS (transport layer security) and AES (advanced encryption standard) encryption to protect communication so that only meeting participants can see it.
Skype for Business implements more to its security measures by allowing administrator control over users. The administrator can allow or deny user access to certain features to protect the interest of the business. Skype for Business integrates a function that records unsuccessful attempts to log in. The feature log errors in connection and hacking attempts.
How to Install Skype for Business
You can download and install it from the Office 365 home page, following these 6 steps.
- Log in to your Office 365 account at office.com.
- Select the Settings icon in the right corner of the screen.
- Choose the Office 365 link under My app settings.
- Click Software.
- Select the Skype for Business link on the left-side column:
- Choose preferred language;
- Select the version that matches your Office apps;
- Go to Install to download Skype for Business;
- Click Run to start the download;
- Choose Yes to confirm
- When the installation is completed, close the installer box, and run it.
How to Setup Skype for Business
- Open Skype for Business.
- Log in to Skype For Business – Use the sign-in address and password for your organization to log in.
- Choose Sign In.
- Set a “What’s happening today?” message.
- Set the profile picture (optional). Follow the steps under to set a profile picture.
- Select the gear icon;
- Choose Tools, and then select Options;
- Click My Picture. It’s on the left-hand panel;
- Select Edit or Remove Picture. It’ll open a file browser you can use to browse image;
- Choose an image and select Save.
- Set up your status. Click the drop-down menu below your name to set your status. Your status can be:
- Do Not Disturb;
- Be Right Back;
- Off Work;
- Add Contacts – You can add contacts by typing a person’s name or Skype ID in the box – Find Someone. You’ll see a list of contacts that match your search. Right-click, the user you want to add and click Add to Contact List. Contact
- Also, you can add a contact by clicking the icon that resembles a person with a “+” sign, and then select Add from My Organization;
- To add a contact from outside your business, choose Skype Directory below the search box, and type the user’s name or Skype ID. Right-click the name and select Add to Contact List.
How to Use Skype for Business
It is a component of the Office 365 Business package from Microsoft that’s available to business and other organizations. It allows you to communicate with your co-workers and faculty through instant messaging (IM), along with video and audio conversations and conferences. You can also schedule meeting over this platform and share content with the contacts.
Follow the two examples below on how to use Skype for Business:
Scheduling a Skype Meeting via Outlook
- Open Outlook.
- Select Calendar.
- Choose New Skype Meeting.
- Add Participants – Type the names or email addresses of your Skype contacts in the line that tells To:
- Type a subject – The topic of the meeting in the Subject line.
- Choose a date and time – Use the pulldown menus next to Start Time and End Time to pick the date and start time and end times.
- Choose the Meeting Assistant to check everyone else’s availability;
- Select the Meeting Options to change the meeting settings. It enables you to restrict who can join, and who has presenter permissions.
- Type agenda.
- Select Send. It’ll send an email invitation to all the participators. Participants can join the meeting by clicking the link in the email.
- Start a conversation – It can be an Instant message, audio or video call, or meeting.
- Choose the computer screen icon. It’ll bring up the menu for sharing content. There are several ways you can share content over this communication tool.
- Choose Present Desktop to share the contents of your entire desktop;
- Select Present program to share a specific program. The program should already be open, and you need to choose the window for that program;
- Pick Present PowerPoint files to display a PowerPoint presentation;
- Select Add Attachments to share data with the group;
- Choose Share Notes to share notes with the group;
- Go to More to open the White Board or create a poll.
Skype for Business Pricing
The business version of Skype is already included in Microsoft Office 365, which offers three plans. The significant differences between the plans include email hosting and video conferencing for up to 250 users.
- Business Essentials – $6/user/month or $5/user/month paid annually;
- Business – $10/user/month or $8.25/user/month paid annually;
- Business Premium – $15/user/month or $12.50/user/month/month paid annually.