Microsoft announced Teams Essentials yesterday, and it seems like a great deal at just $4 per month per user. But the firm offers an even better deal. And it makes Teams Essentials, well, non-essential.
No, I’m not talking about the free version of Microsoft Teams, though that is also an option. Microsoft Teams (free), as Microsoft calls it, could meet many users’ needs. It supports unlimited group meetings for up to 60 minutes with up to 100 participants per meeting, 5 GB of cloud storage per user, unlimited chat with coworkers and customers; file sharing, tasks, and polling; and data encryption for meetings, chats, calls, and files.
Teams Essentials improves on Microsoft Teams (free) in several ways. It offers unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours with up to 300 participants per meeting, 10 GB of cloud storage per user, and “anytime” phone and web support.” For those extras, you’ll pay $4 per user per month (with an annual subscription, so it’s really $48 per user per year).
That sounds reasonable. But if you’re going to pay, Microsoft offers an even better deal: Microsoft 365 Business Basic, which costs $5 per user per month (again with an annual subscription, so it’s really $60 per user per year). And the advantages of Microsoft 365 Business Basic over Microsoft Teams Essentials are significant.
How significant? You get everything in Microsoft Teams Essentials, plus, Team meetings recordings with transcripts, Teams breakout rooms, Outlook calendar integration in Teams, web and mobile versions of Office apps, 1 TB of cloud storage per user (vs. just 10 GB), business-class email, single sign-on to Microsoft 365 apps and services, enforced multi-factor authentication, advanced auditing and reporting, and various administration and support features with a 99.99 percent uptime guarantee. For the storage alone, it’s worth the additional $1 per month. It’s no contest.
After that, things get expensive. Microsoft 365 Business Standard, for example, is the next tier up, and it costs $12.50 per user per month (really, $150 per user per year). That gets you the desktop Office apps, of course, plus Teams webinar support and other niceties. But we’re talking basic value here. And from my perspective, Microsoft 365 Business Basic is a much better value than Microsoft Teams Essentials.