Microsoft beefs up Teams video chat to rival Zoom's massive sessions

Microsoft is now letting up to 250 participants chat with each other using its video chat services on Teams. Like on Zoom, no accounts are needed to join a session. — Microsoft/dpa

Before the pandemic, Zoom's video conferencing service was largely a business tool used by office workers – until suddenly it was being privately used by families and friends around the world, staying at home during lockdowns.

Microsoft now thinks the same shift is about take place on the video chat service for its workplace collaboration platform Teams, and the company is expanding its video conferencing for easier sessions outside the workplace.

Initially limited to use on smartphones, the video chat service is now also available on computers with the arrival of a new desktop programme, in addition to the iOS and Android apps.

Microsoft says no matter which channel you use, video chat will remain free for private individuals. The features also make this a possible rival to Zoom for public lectures and sessions with large groups.

Up to 250 participants will be able to chat with each other with audio and video, and with a time limit of only 24 hours. You'll also be able to see 49 video tiles simultaneously in the gallery view. Photos and videos can be shared during the chat.

Also like on Zoom, people who don't use Teams and don't have a Microsoft account will still be able to join the sessions, Microsoft says. The host can simply send an invitation link so that they can join the video conference in their browser. – dpa

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