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Microsoft to move some Teams features to more costly 'Premium' edition

Wants around $10 a month for stuff you get free today, plus plenty more new features

Microsoft has revealed that a Premium cut of its Teams cloudy collaborationware suite will debut in early February, and some features that are currently included in Microsoft 365 will move to the new – more costly – product.

Teams Premium was announced in October 2022, and a preview has operated since December 16.

On Tuesday, the software leviathan revealed, in a note for its partners, that the product is scheduled to become generally available in "early February 2023."

Teams Premium requires an add-on license over and above a Microsoft 365 subscription.

But as Microsoft's licensing guide clarifies: "some Teams features will move from Teams licenses to Teams Premium licenses."

Those features are:

  • Live translated captions;
  • Timeline markers in Teams meeting recordings for when a user left or joined meetings;
  • Custom organization Together mode scenes;
  • Virtual Appointments – SMS notifications;
  • Virtual Appointments – Organizational analytics in the Teams admin center;
  • Virtual Appointments – Scheduled queue view.

Microsoft will keep those features free in vanilla Teams for 30 days once the Premium edition debuts, but after that will seek to upsell users.

The software giant has suggested Teams Premium will have an "expected list price of $10 per user per month" but will reveal the actual price only once the tool becomes generally available.

Teams Premium also offers live translated captions during meetings, and the chance to customize meeting spaces with an organization's branding.

Teams' Webinar capabilities gain features including the chance to approve registrants manually, creating a waitlist for attendees, emailed attendance reminders, and creating a "green room" in which presenters can meet and chat before an event goes live. Admins can determine what participants in a webinar see, too, to keep them focussed.

Meetings with over 50 attendees gain end-to-end encryption, and can be assigned sensitivity labels defined with Microsoft's Purview Information Protection data governance tools. Another security feature lets admins control who has rights to record a meeting.

Virtual appointments – a tool Microsoft suggests for staging chats with customers – can be conducted without Teams running on participants' devices.

Microsoft suggests Teams Premium is what orgs need to do virtual meetings right, now that they've become a regular occurrence. The software giant has also positioned the Premium edition as offering so many features that you can do everything in Teams and won't need to endure the misery of running multiple tools.

That sort of integration and bundling has been Microsoft's big selling point for its productivity suites for decades.

This time around, Microsoft will also try to sell you a price rise and a nasty little downgrade if you choose not to cough up. History suggests it will succeed. ®

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