Microsoft has launched Teams Essentials, a standalone version of its video conferencing software explicitly aimed at small businesses.
Previously, businesses who wanted a more capable Teams experience would have to subscribe to one of the company’s Microsoft 365 packages.
That has resulted in companies that don’t require the additional software of that subscription to use alternatives like Zoom and Google Meet.
Microsoft itself has admitted that Zoom was an “emerging threat” to its productivity software business.
With Teams Essentials, it looks to give businesses more powerful video conferencing without any attachments.
The new subscription provides the ability to host an unlimited number of group meetings with up to 300 people that can run for up to 30 hours. Each user is also provided with 10GB of cloud storage.
The free version of Teams allows for meetings with up to 100 participants for up to 60 minutes and includes 5GB of cloud storage.
The Teams Essential subscription costs $4.00 in the US and R61.70 in South Africa per user per month, compared to the $5.00 or R77.10 subscription of Microsoft 365 Basic.
The latter includes web and mobile versions of seven other Office apps, such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Exchange, in addition to 1TB of cloud storage and email and security services.
Both of those packages are priced very competitively.
The Zoom Pro package for small teams costs $14.99 (R238) per month, and Google Workspace Business Starter costs $6.00 (R95) per month.