Applies to: Office 365 Small Business customers after the service upgrade

Microsoft recently announced the availability of Lync Skype connectivity. If you’re an Office 365 Small Business admin and want your users to be able to add Skype users* to their Lync Contacts list, you may need to toggle the External communications service setting off and then on again.

To do this, sign in to Office 365 and go to Admin > Service settings > Instant messaging, meetings and conferencing > External communications.

* Skype users must be signed in with a Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID).



TIP: This can get a little confusing, so you may want to just toggle the setting and call it good.

Before May 20, turning on External communications for Small Business customers didn’t automatically turn on connectivity with external IM providers. Now it does.

So you need to switch External communications off and then back on again if:

  • You signed up for Office 365 Small Business between February 28, 2013 and May 20, 2013--and turned on External communications before May 20.
  • You set up and were using Office 365 before the Office 365 service upgrade, and you didn’t have External communications turned on when you were upgraded.

For more tips about how to get up and running if you're not able to connect with Skype users, see Troubleshooting Lync-Skype connectivity.

Even more details (if you're really that curious)

Small Business customers who were using Office 365 before the Office 365 service upgrade had two separate settings for External communications: one for other organizations that use Lync, and one for public IM providers. If you were using Office 365 before the service upgrade and had public IM connectivity turned, no further action is required, and Lync-Skype connectivity should work as expected.