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Skype Meetings is free for small businesses

Light version of Skype for Business offers group meetings for up to 10 people

Skype logo

Skype has rolled out a free group video conferencing service aimed at small businesses.

Skype Meetings allows users to set up meetings via personalised URLs, which can be distributed to all the participants, regardless of whether or not they have Skype – a feature that was introduced to the full-fat software earlier this year.

“During the meeting, participants can IM, share their screen or PowerPoint presentation or use the laser pointer and whiteboard features to make it more engaging and productive,” explained Andrew Sinclair, general manager for Skype for Business. “The meeting organiser also gets professional meeting controls such as the ability to mute the audience in order to be heard.”

Skype is offering the service for US customers only for the moment.

Any US customers with a business email address who do not already have an Office 365 subscription can sign up for Skype Meetings at www.skype.com/meetings.

After signing up, users can set up meetings for up to 10 people for the first 60 days, and up to three people after the end of the trial period.

Skype Meetings gives small businesses a taste of Microsoft’s premium Skype for Business services, such as the ability to share screens and content during meetings.

Those with Office 365 subscriptions – including Skype for Business – will already have access to “richer online meetings capabilities”, Skype said, such as the means to host large group meetings for up to 250 people and integration with Microsoft apps like Outlook, Word and PowerPoint.

Skype introduced its Skype for Business service in March. The service boosts more dedicated features than its regular version, from allowing collaborative document editing to the ability to natively save video conference calls.

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