Skype Releases Free Meetings Tool For Small Businesses

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Skype Meetings is a stripped back Skype for Business, with two months of free meetings with up to 10 participants

Microsoft’s Skype has released a new online meetings tool specifically targeted at small businesses called Skype Meetings.

The free tool, which includes collaboration capabilities such as screen sharing and content displaying, touts the usual Skype real-time audio and HD video conferencing, packaged in an SME platform.

PowerPoint

Meeting hosts can share a personalised URL that participants click to join the meeting, and during a meeting, users can share their screen or PowerPoint presentations. Participants are also able to use a laser pointer and whiteboard features to make the meeting more engaging.

skype-meetings-replace-1024x620The meeting organiser also gets professional meeting controls such as the ability to mute the audience in order to be heard.

Users can sign up for Skype Meetings using a US business email address, and set up meetings for up to 10 people for the first 60 days. Bizarrely, after this initial trial period, the meetings are limited to three participants.

So the platform essentially looks like a watered down Skype for Business, which allows for meetings between 250 participants.

Also simplified is the integration features with Office 365, with users only getting access to PowerPoint, unlike Skype for Business’s full Office 365 functionalities.

The tool looks like it’s going to serve as bait for small businesses to eventually sign up for the full-blown Skype for Business, or at least get more businesses onto the Skype platform.

Unfortunately, there is no word on when Skype Meetings will be available outside of the US. TechWeekEurope has contacted Skype for more information.

Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion (£6.5bn) in 2011 and has worked to integrate Voice over-IP (VoIP) and video communications features into a number of its products. Skype for Business was released in 2015, replacing Lync in an effort to unify Microsoft’s enterprise and consumer software communication portfolios.

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