Microsoft Teams takes on Zoom with free all-day video calling

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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With a new all-day video calling option that can be used for free, US-based tech company Microsoft is making a big push to attract fans of rival Zoom over to Microsoft Teams.

Although the software giant released Microsoft Teams on mobile for users earlier this year it is now bringing the friends and family features of Teams to the desktop and web to enable you to host a free Microsoft Teams meeting for up to 300 friends and family. And what more, you can run it all day!

In order to access calls, you need not have a Microsoft Account or a Microsoft Teams app, as you can join easily through a web browser. Microsoft Teams will also support seeing up to 49 friends or family members in a gallery view or through its Together Mode feature that puts you side by side in a virtual environment.

With festivals like Christmas fast approaching, it is clear that Microsoft is positioning Teams as a way for families to virtually interact during the pandemic. The features are particularly relevant because, due to the COVID-19 situation, people are suggested not to travel during the festivals. After thousands of users flocked to the video calling service to connect to coworkers, fellow students, or even friends and family, Zoom soared in popularity earlier this year.

Teams may be a little late to the consumer party, but it definitely looks like Microsoft is providing the perfect way to communicate with friends and family free of charge with a long 24-hour meeting length limit and an easy-to-use web app. At least until a limit is imposed.

Microsoft Teams Image

Zoom has its own 40-minute limit, which it will be briefly relaxing for Thanksgiving, commonly celebrated in countries such as the US, Brazil and Canada. Similar limits are also applicable to other competitors such as Google Meet (60-minute limit) and Cisco Webex (50-minute limit). Microsoft had previously tried to promote Skype Meet Now for this, but Skype is not as popular as it used to be.

All you need to do to get started as a meeting host is visit the new web link for Microsoft Teams and log in with a Microsoft account. You can easily share the link with friends and family once you have created a video meeting, and they will be able to join without having a Microsoft account and free of charge through the web.