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Microsoft Extends Support for Skype for Business and Teams Apps for Windows Phones

Microsoft earlier this month quietly extended the life of its Skype for Business app for Windows Phone devices by about a year and a half, while its Microsoft Teams app for Windows Phone devices was given a five-month reprieve.

Microsoft's original plans, as expressed in a Microsoft support article dated April 23, had been to "retire" the Skype for Business, Teams and Yammer apps for Windows Phone devices on May 20, 2018. The idea was that after the May 20 date, the apps wouldn't be in the Microsoft Store. The Teams app would stop working. The Skype for Business and Yammer apps possibly could continue to work, but Microsoft wasn't guaranteeing it.

Skype for Business App Reprieve
On May 7, without any fanfare, Microsoft substantially updated the April 23 version of its Skype for Business support article, giving the Skype for Business app for Windows Phone devices a year-and-a-half reprieve. The support article was updated yet again on May 9. Based on the current reading, it seems the Skype for Business app for Windows Phone will continue to be a supported product for users until Dec. 10, 2019. Moreover, current users of the app will be able to download it from the Windows Store.

Windows Store availability, though, will be different for new users of the Skype for Business app on Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile. Here's how the updated support article expressed those nuances for new users:

  • Beginning in August 2018, Skype for Business on Windows Phone 8.1 will no longer be available for download.
  • Beginning in December 2019, Skype for Business on Windows 10 Mobile, will no longer be available for download.

The Skype for Business app product lifecycle support revisions were done to align with the end of Windows 10 Mobile's "mainstream support" phase on Dec. 10, 2019, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

"Following our initial announcement, we decided to clarify the end of support dates for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, respectively," the spokesperson indicated in a Monday e-mail. "We are aligning end of support for the Skype for Business app for Windows 10 Mobile with the end of mainstream support for Windows 10 Mobile in December 2019."

Additionally, the revised support article dropped its previous descriptions about the impending retirements of the Teams and Yammer apps for Windows Phone. However, Microsoft's plans remain essentially the same as the two apps are still targeted for deprecation, according to the spokesperson.

"The Microsoft Teams and Yammer apps for Windows Phone will still retire on May 20," the spokesperson indicated. "For clarity, we published support articles for each app, which can be found here for Microsoft Teams and here for Yammer."

Teams App Extension
The Teams app for Windows Phone did get a five-month product-life extension to Oct. 20, 2018 for existing users. Here's how that new support article, dated May 9, expressed it:

Beginning July 20, 2018, the Microsoft Teams app for Windows Phone will no longer be available from the Microsoft Store. Existing users will be able to continue using the app until October 20, 2018. After October 20, the Microsoft Teams app will no longer work, and users will receive an error message when they try to connect.

Yammer App Dead
The Yammer app for Windows Phone, though, is essentially a dead product. Here's how Microsoft's new support article, dated May 9, expressed the matter:

After May 20, 2018, the Yammer app for Windows Phone will no longer be available from the Microsoft Store. The Yammer app may continue to work, but this is not guaranteed. The Yammer app will no longer receive updates or support.

Microsoft's mobile applications likely fall under Microsoft's Modern Lifecycle support policy. It stipulates that Microsoft will give a "minimum of 12 months' notification prior to ending support if no successor product or service is offered -- excluding free services or preview releases."

However, the Skype for Business, Teams and Yammer apps for Windows Phone are all free apps. Moreover, Microsoft is steering Windows Phone users to use the Android and iOS native app versions instead. So it's not clear if Microsoft has an obligation to give any advance notice at all.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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