Free version of Microsoft Teams allows users to setup video calls

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Microsoft Teams users without a paid subscription can now setup a video call themselves. Previously, it was only possible to participate in a video call if a paid user initiated the call.

Microsoft Teams is one of the services that saw a significant increase in the number of users after the coronavirus outbreak, primarily because of the massive shift to remote working. The Microsoft 365-service was less useful for making video calls, however, as users could only setup video calls with a paid subscription. Other services such as Zoom and Slack do allow free users to setup video calls, which put Teams at a clear disadvantage.

Zoom demonstrated that users without a paid subscription are a good potential market. The video call service posted significantly more profit in the first quarter of 2020 (a growth of 169 percent) but experienced an increase in the number of non-paying users in particular. According to Zoom, this provides an opportunity to convince those users to pay for the service in the future.

Zoom still leads the way

In terms of user numbers, Teams is still far behind Zoom, despite a significant increase in user numbers. At the beginning of April, Microsoft estimated to have about 75 million active users every day, which was an increase of almost thirty million compared to a month earlier. Nevertheless, users regularly highlighted the limitations of the service, which included not being able to setup a video call as a non-paying user and the maximum of nine on-screen video call participants.

The first issue has been resolved, now users are still waiting on an increase of the on-screen participants. It is still unknown when Microsoft will increase the number of active on-screen participants, but the company already claimed it is a priority. Last week Microsoft rolled out support for interaction between Skype and Teams, so users of the different services don’t have to switch between them.