Microsoft launches cheap standalone Teams Essentials for small businesses

Microsoft launches cheap standalone Teams Essentials for small businesses

Video-conferencing services don’t come cheap. In fact, you have to pay a sum every month –– it will vary depending on the features you want to avail and the number of participants you want to join at once.

Read: Google Meet now allows 500 participants in a call

Because it is now essential for businesses, especially they are still on a virtual setup, they have no choice but to pay the monthly subscription. But, for small businesses, the amount can be pretty hefty.

Good thing, Microsoft launches its first standalone version of Teams, perfectly suited for small businesses. And what makes it perfect is the cheaper subscription fee that still allows for many features.

Related:

Microsoft launches a cheap version of Teams, directly taking aim at Zoom

The competition for the best video-conferencing service still continues. Microsoft takes a shot at Zoom as it unveils a standalone cheaper version of the Microsoft Teams called Teams Essentials for small businesses.

Microsoft launches a cheap version of Teams, directly taking aim at Zoom
Microsoft launches a cheap version of Teams, directly taking aim at Zoom

Microsoft Teams Essentials will be priced at $4 per user per month. Users can still access the core meeting features of Teams without having to buy the typical Office app bundles that basically require a more expensive Microsoft 365 plan.

In Teams Essentials, Microsoft is letting go of its Slack-like channels functionality which gives way to a more simplified chat interface and solely focuses on meetings and video calls.

That’s why, this standalone version makes a direct Zoom competitor.

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It’s the first standalone offering of Microsoft Teams designed specifically with small businesses in mind. It brings together features small businesses need to serve customers, including unlimited group video calls for up to 30 hours, group chat, file sharing, and calendaring,

says Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365.

Technically, small businesses have to choose between Microsoft Business Basic plan –– starts at $5 per user per month and increasing to $6 this March –– or competitors like Slack, Zoom, Google Workspace, and more.

Microsoft Essentials (Photo credits: Microsoft)
Microsoft Essentials (Photo credits: Microsoft)

Now, Microsoft is targeting small businesses that have depended on Zoom during this pandemic. Zoom is another video-conferencing software that was identified as an emerging threat last year when the pandemic began.

With the standalone Microsoft Essentials, it is now a big step in competing with the likes of Zoom and even Google’s Workspace push.

Clearly, Microsoft sees an opportunity to help out small businesses that are trying to make use of tools that won’t break the bank for them to stay afloat.

Many small businesses are using Zoom for video calls, Slack for group chat, and Google Workspace for email and calendar handling. That is so many apps to use and too many subscription fees to pay. And chaotic is an understatement.

Slowly these companies will work to make every business solution available and seamless to use. Even so that Google has been centralizing its chat and communications apps into Gmail, even opening Google Workspace for everyone to use.

None of the companies yet have the perfect solution. Microsoft Teams Essentials still lacks the app extensibility to really bring all these features in one.

Google Calendar integration in Teams Essentials (Photo credits: Microsoft)
Google Calendar integration in Teams Essentials (Photo credits: Microsoft)

Furthermore, Microsoft is also including Google Calendar integrations in Teams Essentials soon –– an important step in making Teams a true standalone.

Looking at the prices, Microsoft Teams Essentials at just $4 per user per month can be very appealing, take for example, the Zoom Pro license is at $14.99 per month.

If you want to make the switch or maybe just try it out, Microsoft Essentials is now available directly from Microsoft.

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