Microsoft gives businesses a free tool for online meetings

Skype Meetings is a gateway drug to an Office 365 subscription

Microsoft is giving small businesses a new way to hold meetings online with the launch of a free Skype Meetings product that's aimed at providing professional communication tools for free.

Skype Meetings is free to use, and people can launch meetings for up to 10 people during their first 60 days of using it. After that, they're limited to only hosting meetings for three or fewer people. Those meetings can take advantage of a bunch of features, including the option to bring in participants using a hyperlink and present a PowerPoint slide deck live.

The new service is something of a gateway drug to try and get people hooked on Skype for Business. That's why Microsoft imposed its user limit restrictions -- super-small businesses can use Skype Meetings without paying, and growing companies are encouraged to buy an Office 365 subscription to hold big meetings.

Microsoft is facing tight competition in that arena, with Google pushing its Hangouts chat and calling software, and Slack quickly developing calling capabilities for its popular chat app.

Skype Meetings will give users a professional space to coordinate their work with one another and present to people outside their business without having to pay for Office 365. The ability to upload a PowerPoint presentation to a meeting and do things like wave over it with a virtual laser pointer and draw on it with digital ink ought to be of particular interest for people who do a lot of online presentations.

Microsoft says that users can join a meeting from any device that has a microphone, camera, speaker and web browser. It's not clear if this product is only browser-based, or if it will also work with client applications like Skype or Skype for Business on smartphones and tablets.

Skype Meetings will give users a taste of Skype for Business's more robust functionality, which includes the ability to host meetings with up to 250 participants and functionality that lets users instant message their coworkers through the system all day long.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Office 365Microsoft

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?