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Microsoft Teams Essentials is a new standalone version for small businesses

January 24, 2022

Microsoft Teams

In order to better serve small companies, Microsoft is building a standalone edition of Teams specifically for them. To get the most out of Teams Essentials, you'll need a Microsoft 365 package that includes the Office apps. The standalone edition of Teams puts Microsoft's Slack-like channels feature to rest in favour of a more straightforward chat interface plus concentration on meetings & video conferences.

The standalone Teams product for small companies, provides unlimited team video conferences for 30 hours at max, messaging, document sharing & calendaring for 30 days.

Since the advent of Microsoft Teams about five years ago, there has been a void in the market for smaller enterprises. The 365 Business Basic package, which is currently charging at $5 per user/month and will rise to $6 per user/month in March, has been the only option for small firms until now.

When it comes to Office365 Business Basic & Microsoft Teams Essentials, the main differences are the amount of cloud storage and the amount of Teams capabilities. Only 10Gigabytes of OneDrive space is offered in Essentials, opposed to 1TB in Business Basic. Meeting recording and transcripts, real-time translation, breakout rooms, & whiteboard integration are also missing from Essentials.

For organizations that use applications like Teams and Zoom for video conference calls, Microsoft Teams Essentials removes the teams & channels features of Teams. Teams Essentials will still allow for private and group chats, though.

Microbusinesses who have mainly focused on Zoom during this outbreak are Microsoft's primary target audience. Last year, the software manufacturer labelled Zoom as an "emerging challenge," and releasing a standalone edition of Teams looks like a significant step towards competing with Zoom & moreover Google's Workspace initiative.

Instantly, the use of videoconferencing and virtual technologies became a pandemic. Many small firms are asking, "What really is my future version?"  They're rethinking the long-term plan, and most of them had to learn new technologies rapidly in order to remain afloat, but now they're looking at how they might better connect with consumers and workers in the future.

It's evident that Microsoft considers an opportunity to acquire small firms that are struggling to operate with a variety of different technologies. Zoom for video conversations, Slack for group conversation, & Google Working space for email & calendar are all viable options for small businesses right now. Throughout the epidemic, Google has integrated all of its messaging and collaboration tools into Gmail and made Google Workspace available to everyone. Integrations between Slack and other apps are designed to make them easier to use.

Microsoft Teams Essentials doesn't even have the app extensibility to truly integrate all of these different small company solutions. While Google Calendar connectivity will be included in Teams Essentials shortly, this is a significant step towards making Teams entirely independent of Google.

In comparison to Zoom Pro, Google Working space, Slack, and other applications, Microsoft Teams Essentials may be an attractive option for small businesses, especially when you consider that Zoom Pro costs $14.99 per month. Directly through Microsoft and through Microsoft's authorized partners & resellers,  Teams Essentials is now on sale.

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