Microsoft Teams vs Zoom: What’s Best for Your Next Video Chat?

Since most countries are taking strict measures to limit social interactions due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people are forced to work from home now. Messengers and apps like Slack are really helpful in this scenario, but you also need a video chat app to hold virtual meetings and conferences with your colleagues. In this review, we are going to compare two of the most popular video chat apps everyone seems to be using now – Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Are Microsoft Teams Meetings the Right Choice for You?

Microsoft Teams Meetings interface laptop photo

Microsoft Teams is part of the Office 365 software package, so you already have access to this service if your workplace provides an Office 365 subscription or you happen to have a personal one. Coming from the developers behind Slack, Microsoft Teams feels a lot like Slack, but with the additional functionality of video conferencing and online presentations.

Those who use Office 365 products on a regular basis are definitely going to appreciate their seamless integration into the Microsoft Teams workflow. Files can be exported from apps like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Excel directly into Microsoft Teams to be used during presentations and video conferences. Conferences can be scheduled manually through the Teams app or through Outlook, Microsoft’s client, for efficient management of online correspondence.

Microsoft Teams has lots of helpful features to make your video meetings feel as close to real-life as it gets. You can use the built-in tools to call for attention from your whole audience or just a single individual, and the channels feature allows you to quickly select several participants of a meeting in case you want to say something that’s not meant for everyone’s ears. Microsoft Teams also lets you create and share agendas for future meetings and invite external guests who don’t belong to your organization to your meeting.

Should You Try out the Zoom App instead?

Zoom video conferencing app interface screenshot

A very popular alternative to Microsoft Teams, Zoom offers much of the same functionality as its main competitor with some additional features. For instance, the collaborative tools in Zoom allow meeting participants to co-annotate documents that are currently being shared, which is a nice feature for meetings that have to do with brainstorming or planning.

In addition, Zoom has a built-in chat that’s available during meetings and can be tweaked to allow the presenter a higher or lower degree of control over what’s being said in the chat. This feature can be extremely useful when Zoom is being used for educational purposes, but it also has its uses incorporate scenarios when there are too many people taking part in a meeting to communicate through audio and video efficiently. What’s more, the chat enables people who don’t have access to a device with a working microphone or a quiet environment to participate in Zoom meetings actively.

Other Zoom features include HD audio and video, Gmail integration, and the ability to share multiple screens at once. There’s also a built-in tool that allows you to record your meetings in case you want them to be accessible later, and Zoom can even generate transcripts for your recordings. Both these features make Zoom a very powerful tool that can help in arranging business meetings, collaborative projects, and online classes in a more convenient and useful way for everyone involved.

Microsoft Teams Versus Zoom: What about Privacy and Security Concerns?

Zoom may seem great “on paper,” but there’s also something you need to take into account while using it, and that is the risk of your online privacy being compromised. It seems like Zoom doesn’t have much respect for the privacy and security of its users, as the company has already been accused of selling user data to third-parties without making the affected users aware of it. In addition, Zoom meetings are notoriously easy to “zoombomb”, so you have to take additional measures to minimize the risk of your meeting being disrupted by strangers. This has already led to multiple organizations and institutions banning or strongly discouraging the usage of Zoom until the company fixes the security issues in its software.

On the other hand, Microsoft has made it clear that it takes the privacy of Teams users very seriously. The company has officially stated that it does not use the acquired user data to sell ads and has no intention of doing so in the future. What’s more, participant attention in Microsoft Teams isn’t being tracked, so the app is a lot less likely to invade your private space than Zoom. Finally, Microsoft promises to delete all your Teams data once your subscription has ended, which is most likely not a promise you’re going to hear from Zoom any time soon.

The Bottom Line

It may not be easy to choose between Microsoft Teams and Zoom because both services are priced quite competitively and offer free versions for private use. This means financial considerations are likely to be out of the picture, and you’ll have to choose based on the “functionality vs. security” paradigm.

While Microsoft Teams does have some unique and very cool features (just take a look at a list of best bots for Microsoft Teams to understand our point), it lacks the collaborative features offered by Zoom. You and your colleagues are probably going to need additional software to make the most out of your Microsoft Teams meetings, such as a chat app and a dedicated screen recording tool. Apart from having to invest in these apps, you’ll also end up wasting time switching between them and Microsoft Teams, and it is definitely going to take a pretty tech-savvy user to integrate all these services into the workflow seamlessly. 

However, Microsoft Teams does offer a considerably better privacy policy as compared to Zoom, so it may be a good idea to go for Microsoft’s product unless you absolutely need the unique features offered by Zoom and value convenience over privacy. Whichever your working preferences are – make sure you choose the platform that suits your personal needs best.

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