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Microsoft Software

Skype Meetings Is Microsoft's New Free Video Conferencing Tool For Small Businesses 56

Microsoft is launching a free tool to make it easier for people to make video conference calls. The company on Tuesday released Skype Meetings, which is largely similar to using the traditional Skype app, but comes with features that make it easier to set up video calls and collaborate with colleagues. TechCrunch reports:The more fully featured Skype for Business product allows you to host meetings with up to 250 people and it's deeply integrated into Outlook, Word and PowerPoint. Skype Meetings, on the other hand, only allows for PowerPoint collaboration (screen sharing, laser pointer, etc.) and screen sharing. Video calls are also limited to a maximum of 10 people during the first two months. After that, the maximum number of participants drops to three people. Participants can join Skype Meetings from virtually any device with the help of a personalized URL and the calls are powered by the same technology as Skype for Business calls. That means you will get to take advantage of Skype's head tracking feature, for example, which ensures that a face will always be in the center of the screen, no matter where it is in the actual video image.
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Skype Meetings Is Microsoft's New Free Video Conferencing Tool For Small Businesses

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  • by surfdaddy ( 930829 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @03:28PM (#52450947)

    Put it out free and lean, get a lot of users, then crap it up and start charging a subscription fee for it....

    • I can see where this will go...

      uh...

      Put it out free and lean, get a lot of users

      They already did that. It was called skype...

      then crap it up

      and then microsoft purchased it.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        It was called Lync. Which Microsoft canned, so that they can push this shit onto people.
        • What they call "Skype for Business" now is basically Lync. Same program, same protocols, they just rebranded it to capitalise on the brand recognition.

        • Ha no!

          I used Lync, and it was shit. Basically they bought Skype because Lync sucked. But they decided to make Skype suck too because Microsoft.

      • and then microsoft purchased it.

        I think GP was comparing it to the SharePoint strategy - give it away for free, but if you want to use it for reals, it'll cost you for the Enterprise licensing, then the SQL Server and OS licenses (because you ain't gonna run this shiz on a Linux box with Postgres, that's why!). Eventually only HR bothers using it, but since they're entrenched in any given corporation, you're stuck with the cost (and an FTE SharePoint developer) forever...

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Put it out free and lean, get a lot of users, then crap it up and start charging a subscription fee for it....

      In clippy^W Cortana mode:

      It looks like you are trying to make a video conference call. Shall I apply your credit card ending in 1234 to cover all charges?

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      You have no idea of the value of insider content. So run skype passing through M$ servers on Windows anal probe 10 and M$ can sit in on and anal eyes (heh heh) everything you say or every document you share at every business meeting you have. The bigger your company, the greater the value of you information to M$ and their inside investors. The subscription fee will well and truly be paid in stolen commercial and industrial secrets and hugely advantaged insider share transactions.

  • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @03:29PM (#52450961)

    "Video calls are also limited to a maximum of 10 people during the first two months. After that, the maximum number of participants drops to three people."

    Well, what business won't be lining up around the block to use such a helpful product? ::eyeroll::

    • My last lot used Zoom.us

      Upside : free, works on all three big desktop OSs and both big phone OSs (I think Windows Phone too..), 50 participants in the free plan, up to 40 minute meetings in the free plan (TBH - this is a feature! Who wants to webconf for more than 40 minutes....)

      Downside : not all the features work on Linux.

      You'd have to be nuts not to be thinking about using a WebRTC client though.

  • If the main feature it has is "not being a pile of shit" then I'm all over it! Seriously, Skype seems to be sucking more and more by the day. I also mostly stopped spending money on it when it could no longer do voice calls over 3G. I think that was when they introduced the HD codec, which is all fine and dandy but it would be nice if it reverted to standard quality rather than giving me occasional snippets of HD audio with long gaps in between.

  • I feel silly for asking this because I assume the answer is none, but does it support any OSes other than Windows? The 'deeply integrated' comments pretty much assure it doesn't, but I need to ask. I do recall when Skype was a useful tool worth paying for regardless of OS used but those days are long gone. SIGH.

    • Re:OS Support? (Score:5, Informative)

      by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @04:27PM (#52451467)

      The "deeply integrated" comment is a little misleading.

      Skype (all versions) is a stand alone product that does not require any other office product to function.

      No, you do not *need* Outlook to run Skype (even the business version) or vice versa. Yes, they all query each other's APIs for status and stuff. But even the Outlook "integration" is nothing more than a standard plug-in (not integrated into the Outlook app itself).

      As for cross platform. If you have an O365 subscription, almost all of their desktop apps (and Skype for sure) have web-based versions.

    • Works on OSX: https://www.skype.com/en/downl... [skype.com]

      Now how *well* it works? Well...

    • by mcl630 ( 1839996 )

      Windows, OS X, Linux (I think, but couldn't find out definitively), Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @03:50PM (#52451165)

    Video calls are also limited to a maximum of 10 people during the first two months. After that, the maximum number of participants drops to three people.

    They probably should've named it "Skype: Starter Edition".

  • They bought a company, not for it's technology, but for it's brand and then decided to run that brand into the ground. It's the same pattern they've had for years.

    Nothing new to see here, just history repeating itself.

  • Just to keep it clear.

    Another option would have been to call it LyncPersonal... again... to keep things clear and differentiated...

  • when the OP doesn't read like a commercial.

  • Let's see:
    • - Runs in a browser. A good one like Firefox or Chrome, not Explorer.
    • - Free
    • - Super simple to setup and just works. You sent the other side a link, they open it and the conference starts.
    • Just because it is Microsoft's tool doesn't make it my preferred tool. Actually, just the opposite.

    • Same here. Team started with Hangouts, but it had 2 major issues: eventually it goes crazy and someone in the team cannot join it; the UI to start a Hangout and send the link to someone join it's really a pain.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2016 @04:55PM (#52451753)

    Microsoft comes late to the party and presents a sub par product that is inferior to anything on the market.

    Ok, seriously, what's the news?

  • I'm often involved in standards development operation conference calls with 20-30 people. It would be great to have a WebEx like experience with screen sharing and video conferencing however only the current person/people speaking should have their headshot appear on the screen (at full size, anyway). What is the best solution for this?

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