New Microsoft Teams Premium Will Add Paywall to Some Features

Microsoft is adding a semi-hidden downgrade to any users who aren't interested in paying for Premium: Fewer features.

This year, Microsoft Teams is launching Premium, a paid tier of the business communication platform. But there's a catch: Features that were previously free through Teams will now only be available through the Premium add-on.

The once-free functionality will be removed from regular Teams users within 30 days of the Premium service's launch. The exact cost for the add-on won't be announced until the service is available, but will be somewhere around $10 per user, per month.

While Teams Premium will add plenty of interesting features including AI-powered tools and custom branding, any Microsoft Teams users who aren't paying extra will find their options reduced.

What Teams Features Will Move to Premium-Only?

The news about this reduction in features comes from an update to Microsoft's licensing guide, recently spotted by The Register. In this guide, the tech company writes that “some Teams features will move from Teams licenses to Teams Premium licenses.”

The features in question:

  • Live-translated captions
  • Timeline markers in Teams meeting recordings for when a user leaves or joins a meeting
  • Custom organization Together Mode scenes
  • Virtual appointment SMS notifications
  • Organizational analytics within the Teams admin center for virtual appointments
  • Scheduled queue view for virtual appointments

In addition to hoovering up once-free features, the Premium add-on will introduce brand-new tools that include a new guide for helping users pick the right type of meeting format, custom logos and backgrounds for meetings.

It'll also add artificial intelligence tools, including intelligent search, auto-generated tasks gleaned from meetings, an intelligent playback service to automatically split recorded meetings into chapters by topic, and an AI recap of the meetings themselves.

When Will the Features Leave?

Microsoft will allow the existing Premium-only features to remain available to normal Teams users for 30 days after the Premium add-on rolls out.

However, we don't have a set timeline for the Premium add-on to become available. First announced at the Ignite 2022 conference in October of last year, the Premium service rolled out a preview version on December 16, 2022.

Now, we've found out that Premium is debuting sooner rather than later: Microsoft says the service is set to become generally available around “early February 2023.” The days of free Microsoft live translation are coming to an end.

Is Teams Premium Worth Getting?

In summary, Microsoft is adding in a semi-hidden downgrade to any users who aren't interested in paying for Premium — removing old features from the free version is the stick that goes along with the carrot that the new Premium features provide.

If those combined features all add up to be worth the new price tag, Microsoft Teams Premium is worth getting, even if its users may not be happy about the process. And with plenty of businesses locked into the sprawling Microsoft business software ecosystem, Premium seems poised to be a success.

If you're not happy about it and aren't fully committed green meadow and blue skies of the Bill Gates life just yet, there are plenty of other organizational and virtal meeting software options available. We've even rounded up all the best free conference call services, including top options like Zoom, RingCentral, and Google Meet.

Teams is always adding new features, but as this news about the Premium tier highlights, Microsoft Teams can take away any features it wants, as well.

Written by:

Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and he has an art history book on 1970s sci-fi out from Abrams Books in 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.

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