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There are many versions of Skype for Business. Whenever I tell a person on the phone to look for Skype for Business download on the Web, it seems for some reason they seem to struggle to find what they are looking for. To avoid confusion, I figured I will write an article that includes some useful information about Skype for Business. If you are not sure which version to download or you may not have access to Office 365, you can download the free version of Skype for Business Basic.

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What is Skype for Business Basic?

Microsoft Skype for Business Basic includes online meetings, instant messaging (IM), audio and video calls, availability (presence) information, and sharing capabilities. It’s similar to GoToMeeting and WebEx but is much more flexible in many ways. This is the stand-alone version of Skype for Business. You can download the 64-bit version of Skype for Business Basic from Microsoft. So far I haven’t seen a download for a 32-bit version.

System Requirements

The following system requirements apply to the Skype for Business Basic.

  • Operating Systems: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Browser: Windows Internet Explorer (IE) 10/9/8/7 or Mozilla Firefox Web browser.

NOTE: At the time of writing, Google Chrome is not on the list of supported browsers.

Different Versions of Skype

There are a lot of ways to install Skype on your computer and that’s where it gets confusing because Microsoft doesn’t offer a single page where all different flavors of Skype can be downloaded. To make matters worse, the names of the products are often changed (e.g. SkyDrive -> OneDrive, SkyDrive Pro -> OneDrive for Business, Lync -> Skype, Lync -> Skype for Business). Each name change requires millions of businesses around the world to change their documentation, update Web sites, flyers, brochures, PowerPoint slide decks, etc. In addition, there are several versions of Skype for Business. Here are the ones that I am aware of.

  1. Skype for Business Basic is the stand-alone version of Skype.
  2. Skype for Business also comes with Microsoft Office.
  3. Skype for Business is also included with some Office 365 subscriptions.
  4. A consumer version of Skype, which is simply called Skype. Sometimes Microsoft refers to it as the “non-business” version. Other names that you may read include “Skype for consumers” and “Skype for home users.”

Vypyr vip 2 editor for mac. So you can see when you tell someone to install Skype you have to be specific as to which version. At the end of this article you will find instructions on how to install the various versions of Skype for Business.

NOTE: If you install Microsoft Office, you will normally be installing the 32-bit version and the Skype for Business included with Office will be 32-bit.

Best Practice: Always install 32-bit version of Office and do not install products from two different versions of Office, such as Office 2013 and Office 2016, on one computer. Microsoft encourages you to use 32-bit Office on all 32-bit and 64-bit computers because there are extremely rare cases where you will actually need a 64-bit version of Office.

The Difference Between Skype and Skype for Business Icons

The consumer version of Microsoft Skype has a different icon than Skype for Business. The consumer version has a white S on a blue background, while the business version has a blue S on a white background, as shown below. This makes it easier to identify them if you use both of them, one for business and one for personal use.

The Difference Between Skype for Business Basic 20xx and Skype for Business 20xx in Office 365

You may find one thing confusing about Skype for Business downloads in Office 365. There are two versions of Skype for Business available for download without any explanation as to why a user should download one or the other version of Skype. I will come back to this in a minute, but let’s take a look at the software download section in Office 365 so you know what I am talking about.

If you click on the Settings wheel in the upper right hand corner in Office 365, you will see a section called Your app settings. Click the Office 365 hyperlink to go to the software download areas. You can also go to the software download section directly by using the the hyperlink This is where a user can download and install client software.

You will see two versions listed in Office 365. In Office 365 E1 and E3 subscriptions, you will see Skype for Business Basic and Skype for Business 2015. There is no explanation as to why there are two clients listed and which one you should select. The only hint you will find in the fine print is that the first version says “for Office 2016” in parenthesis. If you have Office 2016 installed on your desktop or laptop computer then perhaps this is the version you want to download. My understanding is that the “Basic” version includes fewer features (and hence it’s called Basic). The other version is not called Basic and is really the “Full” version, but is not called Full version. It’s just called Skype for Business 2015 or Skype for Business 2016. However, if you have Office 2016 and you want to install a full version of Skype then do you install the Skype for Business Basic (for Office 2016) or Skype for Business 2015? No matter which one you choose, it seems to me that you will be installing the wrong version. So now you know why it’s so confusing to understand all the versions of Skype, when to use which version and where to go to download the correct version. By the way, Office 2106 Professional Plus includes Skype for Business so if that’s the version you have then simply install the version of Skype that came with it and you will be in good shape.

How Many Versions of Skype are There?

Well, that’s a good question. There are way too many versions of Skype out there. There is a consumer version, a business version, a standard version, an enterprise version, a basic version, and a full version. Within a version there may be more versions. For example, Skype for Business has a Standard version and an Enterprise version. And then there is a Skype for Business for each year, e.g., Skype for Business 2015, Skype for Business 2016, etc. In addition to all the versions I’ve listed above, there are Office 365 versions which are the “online” versions of Skype and supposedly map to some versions of Office, but it’s not always clear as to which version.

Helpful Links


The good news is that Microsoft has a TechNet article that offers client comparison tables for Skype for Business. These tables compare the various features of all Skype for Business clients going back to the old Lync clients. Lync is the former name of Skype. This article was last updated on January 13, 2017, only a couple of weeks before I last updated this article on January 30, 2017. Check it out: Client comparison tables for Skype for Business Server 2015.

You may find the following links from Microsoft helpful. They include the Quick Start Guides and the instructions for installing Skype for Business.

Last Updated: January 30, 2017

Included the section The Difference Between Skype for Business Basic 20xx and Skype for Business 20xx in Office 365.

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