How best to avoid people
Skype v Microsoft Teams v Zoom
Remember the pandemic?
It’s when we were forced into confinement and our brains were rewired to treat everyone as a possible risk of contagion.
“Work from home” became the mantra and the world discovered two US communications giants who were conveniently ready to take up the slack.
Before you go and wash your hands, here is an analysis of the most popular ways you can avoid physical connectivity with other people in a business environment, and uphold the finest tradition of the pandemic.
The platforms featured in this article use Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). For an explanation of VOIP see our previous blog.
As we will learn, Skype was acquired and then pretty much cannibalised by Microsoft to create the MS Teams platform.
Skype is a communication platform that’s been around since 2003, making it one of the real pioneers of VOIP communications and worthy of honourable mention here. It allows individuals and groups to make voice and video calls over the internet, send instant messages, and share files. Historically, Skype has been popular for one-on-one meetings, personal use, and connecting friends and family members who are geographically separated.
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that integrates with the Microsoft 365 suite of tools. It’s designed to facilitate communication, file sharing, and collaboration within teams and organizations. Teams allows users to create channels for different topics, chat in real-time, schedule and conduct video meetings, share files, and integrate with various Microsoft applications. It’s particularly well-suited for businesses and organizations that already use Microsoft’s productivity tools. It can accommodate forums of up to 1,000 active participants.
Zoom is a video conferencing and online meeting platform that gained immense popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s known for its ease of use, reliability, and features like virtual backgrounds, breakout rooms, and screen sharing. Zoom is widely used for remote work, online education, webinars, and virtual events. It offers both free and paid plans, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
It’s a myth that Zoom is a Chinese company. Zoom Video Communications, Inc is an American company, publicly traded on the NASDAQ, founded in 2011 and headquartered in California. It’s founder is Eric Yuan, a Chinese -American businessman. According to Yuan, Zoom does have some operations and employees in China, just like most multinational technology companies. So why the fuss?
Skype meets Microsoft
In May 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion and used it to replace their Windows Live Messenger platform.
This helps explain the market positioning and difference between MS Teams and Skype.
According to Microsoft:
Skype that you use at home is great for smaller businesses of up to 20 employees. It is free to use, unless you want to buy credit to make calls to landlines and mobiles.
Microsoft Teams lets you host audio, video, and web conferences with anyone inside or outside your organization. Teams of 10 or 10,000 can meet in one place, no matter how many places they’re in. You can easily share files, participate in one-to-one and group chats, and more, all with enterprise-grade security. You can also use Skype to participate in one-to-one chats and calls with Microsoft Teams users.
Skype for Business lets you add up to 250 people to online meetings, provides enterprise-grade security, allows you to manage employee accounts, and is integrated into your Office apps. Microsoft Teams is replacing Skype for Business.
MS Teams v Zoom
That makes Microsoft Teams and Zoom two of the most popular video conferencing solutions available today. Both platforms have a free entry level. This is how they compare.
|Feature||Microsoft Teams||Zoom Meetings|
|Price||US$0 to $22 per month, per user||US$0 to $250 per year, per user|
|Participant Capacity||Up to 1,000 (or 19,000 in view only)||Up to 1,000|
|Meeting Time Limits||Up to 60 minutes on free plan; 24 hours on paid plans||Up to 40 minutes on free plan; 30 hours on paid plans|
|Screen, App and Document Sharing||✔||✔|
|Meeting Filters||Filters available for appearance and lighting||Filters available for appearance and lighting|
|Record Meetings||On paid plans||On all plans|
|Meeting Transcripts||Available for scheduled meetings with paid plans||Available on Business and Enterprise plans|
|Host Webinars||Available with Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan||Available with Zoom Events and Webinar plans|
|Cloud File Storage||10 GB per license on all plans; paid plans offer 1 TB per organization||1 GB to unlimited|
|User Reporting and Analytics||On paid plans||On paid plans|
Set Up and Ease of Use
- If your team already has a Microsoft Office 365 Business or Business Standard subscription, you already have access to Microsoft Teams. You must have a Teams account to set up, schedule and invite participants to a meeting. You can schedule a meeting via chat or through your Outlook calendar.
- Setting up a Microsoft Teams meeting is relatively straightforward but interacting with different Office 365 applications along with Teams meetings may involve a short learning curve.
- Zoom has a reputation for being easy to use, which is one reason it’s skyrocketed in popularity. You need a Zoom account to set up and schedule meetings, but not to attend them.
- While the process for joining a Zoom meeting is similar to Microsoft Teams, many users find the process with Zoom a bit more straightforward and the overall meeting experience relatively glitch-free.
- Microsoft has a solid reputation for data and user security, and the Microsoft Teams app is no exception. Microsoft Teams uses multi-factor authentication plus rest and in-transit encrypted data to protect its users.
- In 2020, the Zoom platform incurred several highly publicized security breaches referred to as Zoombombing. Intruders were breaking into Zoom meetings and causing disruptions. Zoom was proactive in addressing security risks and has implemented several new security features. New layers of verification are now in place, as are improvements to the waiting room, which allows hosts to screen would-be participants and block those who don’t belong.
A final word
- Zoom offers exceptional online video conference quality, robust business features, extensive integrations and is widely considered the most user-friendly virtual meeting solution on the market today. Zoom also lets hosts scale their meetings to up to 1,000 participants.
- Microsoft Teams is best for those who are already Office 365 users and those needing a lower-cost alternative to Zoom’s basic premium plan.
Do you have any comments?
Return to our Facebook page to like this article or add your own comments: