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Skype vs. Skype for Business: Who can stick with the free app, who needs to upgrade

May 12, 2015 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Christopher Null / PCWorld

Now there are two Skypes for online videoconferencing: the free, consumer version most of us know, and Skype for Business. This rebranded, redesigned Microsoft Lync takes the look and feel of the consumer Skype we all know and applies it to the enterprise.

Even though the two applications often appear virtually identical now, they are different--and not just because Skype for Business, like Lync before it, costs money. Skype for Business offers capacity and productivity advantages geared for businesses that are big--or that want to look big. For a business with any of the following needs, graduating from free Skype to Skype for Business provides a worthwhile return on investment.

1. You want to have very large meetings

The standard Skype client is currently limited to 25 people on a conference call at once. Skype for Business raises this limit to 250, making it much more suitable for large-scale presentations like all-hands meetings or live webinars. Participants in either Skype or Skype for Business meetings need not be using a Skype client to join the meeting-both services support calls from landlines and standard mobile phones-but extra fees still apply for dial-in users.

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