Office 2016 has been released! Office 365 users can now download & install the latest version of Office. New apps (including Skype for Business), refinements to existing apps, and new co-authoring features abound.
There’s an excellent review of the Office 2016 suite at TheVerge.com: Microsoft Office 2016 Review – The Verge
Now, every new version has its quirks & issues. This time though, we have an issue that affects Skype for Business.
If you already run Skype for Business before installing Office 2016…Office 2016 will break it.
Why Office 2016 Attacks Your Current Skype for Business Client
Depending on your current version of Office, or certain Microsoft apps related to it, you may see an error when you install Office 2016. “We need to remove some older apps” error – Office Support
The error triggers if certain Office 2013 components are already installed on your computer: certain versions of Visio, Project, SharePoint Designer, the OneDrive for Business client…and the Skype for Business client. These versions are viewed as “old” by Office 2016 and thus incompatible.
We’ll focus on Skype for Business here (obviously). In Skype4B’s case, Office 2016 may display an error like the one you see here:
Or it may just remove your Skype for Business client!
Harry John has some additional information on the error, and his support efforts with Microsoft, on his blog: Office 2016 Install – “We need to remove some older apps” – HarryJohn.org
Thanks to quick reporting from people like Harry, Microsoft IS aware of this issue & has documented it. However at this time, they can only offer a workaround.
How to Install Office 2016 and Get Skype for Business Back
Microsoft has put up two URLs documenting this error, and their workaround: Skype for Business is removed when you upgrade to Office 2016 – Microsoft Support Skype for Business is removed when you upgrade to Office 2016 – Office365 Community
It’s the same on both pages. The workaround involves installing a fresh, updated copy of the Skype for Business client after Office 2016 finishes installing. Versions are found at either of above URLs, listed by language.
(I downloaded the English version copy. Curiously, it’s named as a retail copy. It also reports as 32-bit.)
Essentially, this means letting Office 2016 mangle your Skype for Business, wipe it out, and then start fresh.
Not Perfect, But It Works (For Now)
I couldn’t ascertain that the same issue occurs with the Office 2016 Desktop version yet. Though it’s entirely possible the same error will occur, since its bundled Skype for Business client is newer than the one we’ve used for months.