This is what video conferencing looks like when you throw the wealth of two of the world’s top five most valuable brands behind it. Amazon Chime vs. Microsoft Teams is a battle of deep, sleek, enterprise-grade platforms that want to service every aspect of your business communications. And it is a battle Microsoft is currently winning, comfortably.
Both these platforms are relatively new entrants to the video vendor industry, but the difference between them lies in their histories.
Chime is Amazon’s first attempt at video conferencing. While the service largely underwhelmed when it launched in mid-2017 (see our review of Amazon Chime), it has since begun to make good on the promise of its prestigious online lineage. It’s still a product we think will be more dynamic and innovative tomorrow than it is today.
Teams, on the other hand, is a major reboot from a company with a near decade-long reign as one of the world’s most recognizable video brands. It is the culmination of the journey from the clunky, free Skype service to the highly successful Skype for Business era to today’s workplace collaboration phenomena.
The experience gained during that journey leaves Teams as the better business video conferencing product today. It represents the current trend of presenting video as one of many tools within a unified digital communications strategy.
Both Platforms Are Deep, Cheap, and Intuitive
As you would expect from two of the world’s most valuable brands and two of digital technology’s leading innovators, both Chime and Teams are slick, reliable, and intuitive platforms. Both perform well as a pure video conferencing experience. Each has a clean interface, intuitive on-screen access to in-call options, and a logical, if now well-established, chat window presentation involving large central displays and a scrawl of additional callers in thumbnails along the bottom. Both platforms are reliable, and each requires only around 4Mbps of bandwidth to deliver smooth, HD-resolution calls, a demand which is well within the reach of the average U.S. broadband connection.
As you’d expect, Chime and Teams contain all the video conferencing features your business needs, including:
- Cloud connectivity and storage
- Mobile app for iOS and Android
- Screen and browser sharing
- Group calls
- Call recording
- Integrated chat and messaging
- Extensive third-party interoperability
- Comprehensive online support
This comprehensive list of features makes either platform a fine choice for the small-to-medium business. Teams, however, provides greater depth across just about every feature. It offers significantly more cloud storage space per user, a maximum of 50 simultaneous group callers as opposed to 16, and a wider range of video conferencing presentation options such as background blur.
These differences, though they may not seem huge, give the Microsoft product a definite advantage and set it up as an example of a more mature offering.
Video as Part of a Collaboration Tool
The chief reason for our initial disappointment with Amazon’s entry into the video conferencing world was how traditional it felt. In an age when Slack was busy upending the way video was incorporated into everyday business workflows, Chime arrived as a Skype-like standalone video experience–and that’s still what it is.
Microsoft, by stark comparison, realized Slack’s potential and bravely tore down its profitable Skype for Business brand in order to mimic that presentation. A few years after its bold move, Teams now feels like a far more progressive platform than Chime…and a more powerful one than Slack, for that matter.
Teams is more than video. It is a central hub of workflow activity designed to enable communication with your colleagues on the projects you are working on together. It sits within a central communications hub where video is just one of a variety of digital tools at your disposal. The practical result is instant, seamless video calling that launches from several avenues, including directly out of a chat feed. You’re never “out” of Teams and video feels like an informal extension of your working day.
Like Teams, Chime offers many interoperable opportunities to link video with third-party apps such as Salesforce and it integrates well with G Suite and other business services, but Teams is the more complete environment. The defining example? Chime integrates with Office 365, but Teams is embedded within Office 365.
Amazon Chime Vs. Microsoft Teams: The Winner
As it currently stands, Teams is a clear winner over Chime. Its features are consistently deeper and the workplace collaboration format is far more useful to the modern, mobile workplace.
There is hope for Amazon, however. It has begun to flex its financial muscle by introducing a pay-as-you-go subscription that gives small businesses a chance to control their video spend–although using the service only four times a month pushes the final bill up to parity with Teams. More importantly, Chime is backed by the all-powerful AWS warehouse. The world’s most popular software-as-a-service–together with Amazon’s vast online shopping portal–is bursting with tech innovations and long-term subscribers. If Amazon can better incorporate those two assets into Chime, it has the potential to become an unprecedented all-in-one service that places video at the heart of a social and professional communications hub–like a digital version of work/life balance.
Until such ambitious potentials become reality, though, Teams wins the Amazon Chime vs. Microsoft Teams showdown. It simply stands as the more versatile and more rewarding platform for professional video conferencing and communication.