MS Teams Goes Premium, Kills Free Edition Features

John Lister's picture

Microsoft is to start charging extra for some features in its videoconferencing tool, Microsoft Teams. The move suggests it's further targeting a business audience rather than concentrating on the consumer market.

At the moment Microsoft Teams is free to use, either as part of the Office 365 suite (included in the subscription cost) or a free standalone tool. Microsoft is now launching Teams Premium, which will carry an extra fee. Microsoft has hinted that will be $10 a month but has yet to confirm that. (Source:

Features to be Removed from "Standard" Microsoft Teams

There will be a 30-day grace period once Teams Premium launches in early February, after which the following features will be removed from the standard version:

  • Custom organization Together mode scenes
  • Live translated captions
  • Timeline markers in Teams meeting recordings for when a user left or joined meetings
  • Virtual Appointments -> Organizational analytics in the Teams admin center
  • Virtual Appointments -> Scheduled queue view
  • Virtual Appointments -> SMS notifications

Microsoft Teams: New Features Added

The Premium version will also host a variety of new features including:

  • Automated "recaps" of meeting including automatically generated chapter marks. This uses speech recognition and then analyses the content of the discussion
  • Improved encryption including an option to block people from cutting and pasting text from the in-meeting chat tool
  • Any events with more than 50 participants will have end-to-end encryption
  • More control over the organization of virtual meetings including a "green room" for presenters to chat before an event starts
  • More information about attendance including how long people had to wait to get into a virtual meeting, and how many people "no showed"

Consumer Battle Downplayed

It appears Microsoft is counting on the idea the Premium version of Teams will be good enough that businesses make it their sole tool for video chats and conferencing. The idea is to remove any need to go elsewhere for a specific feature.

One major problem is that this only works for certain for internal communications. For meetings with people in other businesses such as clients and suppliers, there could still be dispute about what tool to use. Teams would need to reach a tipping point where most businesses start to use it as their main tool simply because most other businesses also do so.

The emphasis on extra features rather than simplicity of use suggests Microsoft may be putting less effort into the consumer market. Rival services such as Zoom quickly established themselves with home users, largely because they didn't require much technical knowledge or installation and configuration.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you used Teams, either at work or at home? Do these features seem worth the extra money? What do you look for in video chat services?

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