Microsoft has announced the general availability of a new affordable standalone version of Microsoft Teams designed for small businesses.
Microsoft Teams Essentials, at $4 per person per month, is designed to give small businesses a professional and affordable meeting solution to support collaboration, connection and productivity in a hybrid work environment, according to Microsoft.
Teams Essentials allows for unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours, meetings with up to 300 people and 10 GB of cloud storage per user.
The offering also includes existing and new capabilities available in the free version of Teams, including:
- Invitations that require only an email address
- Outlook and Google Calendar integrations
- Professional meeting tools and capabilities such as meeting lobby, virtual backgrounds, Together mode, live closed captions and more.
- Always-available chat
- A new small-business group chat template
In addition, users can chat, meet and collaborate with anyone both inside and out of their organization.
According to Microsoft, the $4 price point is the lowest in the market while featuring security, reliability, performance and support from Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure.
In a statement, Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Modern Work at Microsoft, said the last 20 months have been challenging for small businesses as they adapt to the remote and hybrid working environment.
“Teams Essentials is built specifically to meet the unique needs of small businesses, enabling them to thrive in this new era of work,” he said.
In a separate blog, Spataro said the need for affordable communications tools is widespread across all small organizations, including nonprofits, religious organizations, schools and community groups.
“These organizations and small businesses need to get up and running fast, and Teams Essentials makes it possible with no IT expertise necessary,” he said. “Teams Essentials enables those with and without a Teams account to participate easily and effectively. While the free version of Microsoft Teams is still available, Teams Essentials offers extended limits like longer meetings and more storage.”
According to Microsoft, Teams Essentials is available from a variety of Microsoft Cloud Partners, and can also be purchased directly from Microsoft.