Microsoft Teams Essentials for small businesses launched

Microsoft is baying for Zoom’s market share in the online collaboration space. This thought process has been floating around for a few months now. And, it has been clear, that Microsoft won’t let Zoom eek out a share of the online collaboration and meeting space without a fight. So, Microsoft Teams Essentials has been launched for the small business across the globe. And, Teams Essentials targets online meetings, chat and video calls functionality. Just as you would expect a Zoom competitor to offer as a functionality stack.

What are the main features of the Teams Essentials?


Teams Essentials is a version that will sit right under the Microsoft Teams offering that comes bundled as part of the Microsoft 365 Business basic subscription. Both, in terms of pricing and functionality. The Essentials app will provide all the functionality that is expected of an online collaboration app. Here are the main features of the Teams Essentials:

  • Teams Essentials will provide online meetings, chat and video calling to the subscribers. The basic functionality remains unchanged between the Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365 Business Basic Teams subscription.
  • Users can attend Teams Essentials call without sign in. Anybody with an email link can join a Teams Essentials call. This is much like a normal Zoom meeting. Anybody with a Zoom meeting link can join over the web. So, if you have an Essentials meeting invitation through an email, you can click on the link to join the meeting.
  • Teams Essentials has been priced at $4 per user per month. Annual payments for the subscription to the Microsoft Teams Essentials. The Microsoft 365 Business Basic is, currently, priced at $5 a month for each user. Business Basic price will revise upwards to $6 per user in March, 2022. So, the Essentials price is discounted below the Business Basic price by a good 33%.
  • Group chat and private chat functionality remains a part of the Teams Essentials. Group video calls up to 30 hours are a part of the Essentials service offering.
  • You could host an exponentially big meeting with up to 300 meeting attendees.
  • Teams Essentials will offer 10 GB OneDrive cloud storage space for the subscribers. Business Basic comes with a 1 TB OneDrive cloud storage.
  • Google calendar integration on the Teams Essentials is in the works. So, we can expect the calendar availability in the near future. Until that time, Outlook calendar integration is already in place.
  • There are a few significant features that are missing on the Teams Essentials. Ability to record meetings is a feature that is missing from the Teams Essentials. Chat transcripts, real time translation, white board integration and break room features are also missing from the Essentials.
  • Teams Essentials is being pitched in as a standalone app. The goal is to offer small businesses an integrated platform for chats, online meetings and video calls. A kind of one in all alternatives for online collaboration.

What are the differences between Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365 Business Basic?


We list the similarities and differences between the Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365 Business Basic Teams subscription services.

  • Both, the Teams Essentials and the Business Basic offer online meetings, chats and video calls. The core functionality remains unchanged between the Essentials and the Business Basic of Microsoft 365.
  • Essentials comes with 10 GB cloud storage on OneDrive. Business Basic is 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
  • Aside from the basic collaboration tools, the Microsoft Teams Essentials does not have any app support.
  • The apps that are missing from the Teams Essentials are – OneDrive, Outlook, Exchange, SharePoint, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams/Skype.

Where can I order the Teams Essentials?


Microsoft Teams Essentials can be ordered directly through the Microsoft website. The direct link for the Teams site to order Essentials is – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/compare-microsoft-teams-options. Do bear in mind that you are charged for annual commitments.

Is Microsoft Teams Essentials worth it?


Microsoft Teams Essentials is a stripped down version of the Business Basic subscription. For an annual difference of $24 a user, the Business Basic offers an exhaustive service offering. Are you willing to let go of the Microsoft 365 email and Excel for the Microsoft Teams Essentials? A small business owner will get more value for money with a Business Basic subscription. The Teams Essentials may be a good entry point for the first time online collaborators. But, the Business Basic is a whole new world of possibilities and online collaboration tools and office apps.

I will choose the Business Basic over the Teams Essentials anytime. It is definitely worth an incremental spending of $2 a month.

Summary


Microsoft Team Essentials is a basic collaboration service for small business owners. It is the latest addition to the Teams portfolio of services. The service is available for a subscription price of $4 a month for each user. All the office apps are missing from the Teams Essentials, though. But, the Teams Essentials would be a good choice for a business that wants a Zoom alternative.