Microsoft Teams vs Zoom

Author: Gina Cunsolo

As businesses adapted to the social distancing recommendations prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, many adopted online meeting tools. And with many companies planning to move to a hybrid operating model as the pandemic subsides, those tools will likely remain popular for years to come. Under the hybrid model, workers spend part of their week in the office and the rest working from home, necessitating a convenient way to communicate with colleagues.

Although there are various tools on the market, two, in particular, have emerged as powerhouses: Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Growth for both applications continues to skyrocket, with Teams boasting an estimated 250 million active users while Zoom claims 300 million active users.

So with both services enjoying worldwide popularity, which one is best? In the battle of Microsoft Teams vs. Zoom, who's the winner?

The answer, of course, is that it all depends. When it comes to the Teams vs. Zoom comparison, each has features that make it the better choice, and in many situations, neither has a clear advantage.

Let's start by looking at the basics of each.

Pricing & features

Both Microsoft Teams and Zoom offer free plans that are adequate for many users, especially those in a smaller organization. Still, each of those free plans has different features.

The Teams free plan includes video calls, 2 GB of personal cloud storage, and unlimited chat, whereas the free Zoom plan is limited to video conferencing with unlimited chat. And while the original free Teams plan was limited to 60 minutes per meeting, that's been temporarily increased to 30 hours. On the other hand, Zoom's free plan limits group meetings to 40 minutes, although there is no time limit for one-to-one meetings. Both platforms allow up to 100 participants in a meeting.

Teams is also included with the various Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Microsoft 365 Business Basic is available for $5 per user per month, with the ability to schedule and record meetings and store up to 1TB of content. Meetings can last up to 24 hours and include up to 300 participants. The Basic plan also includes online versions of Microsoft's productivity programs, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  

Microsoft 365 Business Standard costs $12.50 per user per month and includes Business Basic features, but also includes desktop versions of Microsoft's productivity applications and business apps, including Bookings and Invoicing. Office 365 E3, at $20 per month per user, includes everything available in Microsoft 365 Business Standard, as well as unlimited cloud storage and the ability to host events for 10,000 people.

Zoom offers three video conferencing-only plans ranging from free, for 40-minute sessions that can include up to 100 participants, to $14.99/month for sessions that can last up to 30 hours and include 100 participants, to $19.99/month for a minimum of 50 licenses (total $999.50/month) for presentations that can consist of up to 500 people. Zoom United plans also begin with Pro at $25/month for unlimited video meetings with up to 100 participants, 1GB storage for meeting recordings, unlimited chat, and unlimited calling to local phone numbers. The Business plan at $30/month (for 10-99 licenses) offers the same features, plus meetings with up to 300 participants, custom URLs, company branding, transcription, and more. In contrast, the Enterprise plan offers all those features but increases the maximum number of participants to 500. That plan costs $30/month per user with a minimum of 100 licenses.

Integrations & security

One of the major selling points for Microsoft Teams is its integration with the Microsoft 365 suite of apps and services. File sharing, for example, is easy with OneDrive and Sharepoint, and a recent integration with PowerPoint makes sharing content a breeze.

Zoom, though, offers hundreds of third-party integrations through its App marketplace. Productivity applications such as Slack, education platforms such as Canvas, and telehealth software including NextPatient integrate easily with Zoom.

Microsoft has a solid reputation when it comes to security. Zoom experienced several highly publicized incidents in 2020 with pranksters disrupting meetings with rude comments or shocking videos in practice dubbed Zoombombing. The company has since implemented measures to thwart those issues.

The verdict

As mentioned above, the Zoom vs. Teams faceoff will likely be decided by the user's specific needs. If price is the determining factor, Teams is the less expensive option, although premium plans require an annual subscription. Zoom's video conferencing interface is easy and intuitive, putting it ahead if ease-of-use is more important.

Whichever conferencing platform you choose, don't forget the importance of the hardware on which it will run. When it comes to technology, Yamaha Unified Communications has a conferencing solution for any situation.

For those joining a meeting from home or while on the road, there's the YVC-200 Personal or Work-From-Home Speakerphone. For huddle rooms or conference rooms, there's the YVC-330 Portable USB & Bluetooth Conference Phone, or the YVC-1000, featuring separate microphone and speaker units. 

One last thing: don’t forget to check if your audio equipment comes certified with your video conferencing software!  The YVC-1000 is Teams Certified, while the YVC-330, the YVC-1000, and the UC 500 are Zoom Certified

If you have questions, reach out to the experts at Yamaha UC. Contact us today!