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    March 1, 2024

    Teams, Webex, and Zoom: Breaking Down the Big Three


    The “big three” is a very evocative term. In Silicon Valley, the big three are Apple, Amazon, and Google. The Miami Heat had their own big three in 2014: Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Manga and Anime fans from the 2000s and early 2010s will remember the big three series Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece. Of course, one can’t use the term big three without remembering Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin, who formed the Grand Alliance during World War II. 

    All that to say, the world of communications has its own big three: Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom. We’re here to break down each of these three giants help you decide which one is best for your organization. 

    Microsoft Teams Joins the Invite! 

    Teams is Microsoft’s all-in-one app for calling, messaging, and meetings. As part of the Microsoft Office Suite, it can leverage other Microsoft apps such as SharePoint, OneDrive, Azure, Word, Outlook, and more to improve the collaboration experience.  

    Teams Phone adds advanced calling features like auto attendants and intelligent call routing. It’s an industry-leading phone service with Microsoft as your carrier that seamlessly integrates with the rest of the Microsoft Suite.  

    As for pricing, standard Microsoft 365 licenses cost between $6-$22 per user per month. Because your organization most likely already has those licenses, you can use Teams any time you want.  

    To use Teams Phone, you'll need an E5 Microsoft license, which costs as much as $57 a month. For full phone capabilities and enterprise-grade security, that’s not such a bad deal. Teams phone with a background of people on a Teams meeting

    Now let’s look at some of the downsides. Meetings in Teams are easy to set up, but they’re not without hiccups. Audio and video aren’t always clear, muting users takes multiple clicks, and recordings can only be downloaded and shared via Microsoft Stream.  

    Teams requires an optimized network to run quality voice calls, which may put more stress on your IT team. The change management process can also be difficult if your users are less familiar with Microsoft applications. 

    Teams is a great platform for medium to large organizations, particularly if they already have and use Microsoft 365.  

    Cisco Webex Conferences In!

    Webex is Cisco’s classic UC platform. It’s been around since 2007, and while it’s not quite as sleek as some of the newer applications, it still earns its place among the big three because of its longevity as a platform.  

    It's another all-in-one collaboration platform for calling, messaging, and meetings. Of the big three, it offers the most robust meetings, with minimal hiccups, capable of supporting large groups in video calls or seminars.  

    Instead of Microsoft 365, Webex integrates with an organization’s existing Cisco environment. By using supported systems, users can easily join meetings even without video capabilities. Combine this with other features like virtual meeting spaces, and you’ve got a fantastic platform for hybrid communication. 

    Now for pricing. Cisco does offer a free tier for Webex, but who wants that? The Meet plan, which allows meetings with up to 200 people for as long as 24 hours, costs $13.50-$15 a month. The Call plan, which adds VoIP calling features like call holding and forwarding, costs $17 per user per month.  Cisco Webex icon in a dock on Mac

    The Webex suite combines both plans for $25 per user per month, which [seems to be their best deal. It even adds on more fancy calling features like visual voicemail, 6-way conference calls, and unlimited domestic long-distance.  

    Webex also offers a real-time translation add-on. The problem is that this feature costs an additional $25 per user per month. It’s pricy, but real-time translation is essential for multinational businesses  

    Webex’s biggest issue is that it’s the most complex of the big three. That’s not to say it’s impossible or inaccessible, but it may just require more effort in terms of user adoption. It also doesn’t always integrate seamlessly with non-Cisco products. 

    Despite these drawbacks, Cisco Webex is a great option for medium to large organizations with an existing Cisco environment. 

    Zoom Launches a Meeting!

    Zoom is a plucky newcomer compared to Teams and Webex. Without a company like Microsoft or Cisco to support it, it was at one time an underdog in the industry. Then COVID-19 came, and everything changed. Now it seems that everyone and their mother has and uses Zoom.  

    For organizations of any size, this is one of the biggest pros the platform has to offer. There’s a good chance all your users have access to at least the free version of Zoom. A good portion of them may even be paying for higher tiers, even if it’s only for personal use.  

    Why is Zoom so widely used? Is it because of brand loyalty and peer pressure? I don’t think so. Zoom is the most user-friendly of the big three. It works on any device and can easily contact other Zoom users anywhere in the world. It’s also reasonably priced at $159.90 a year per user for a basic plan, so roughly $13.50 a month. laptop screen with 6 people on a zoom meeting

    There’s a lot to love about Zoom, but it’s far from perfect. Of the big three, it’s the least feature-rich. Hardly a fair comparison since Teams and Webex have the Microsoft Suite and Cisco technology packaged with them, but worth mentioning, nonetheless.  

    Zoom’s basic plan comes with all the essential features like a 30-hour meeting time limit, mail and calendar services, 5GB of cloud storage, and Zoom’s new AI companion. That’s good for a start, but if you want phone capabilities, whiteboard, unlimited cloud storage, and more, you’ll get into real money.  

    Then there’s Zoom’s biggest issue: security. “Zoom Bombing” is a thing of the past, but the app still has security issues cropping up even as recently as 2024. While Zoom has done its best to sort these issues out as quickly as possible, organizations using the app will have to make sure it meets their security standards. 

    At the end of the day, Zoom’s a great application for organizations of all sizes, especially if they need to support international communications and if their users use the app already. Of the big three, it’s almost certainly the easiest to convince users to adopt. 

    The Big Three Stand Together 

    So which app is the best? Is it Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, or Zoom? 

    Well, what about all three? 

    A solution that combines the three seems prohibitively expensive, but there are organizations out there with both Microsoft licenses and Cisco infrastructure whose users already love and use Zoom. For these organizations, it’s not much of a stretch to adopt a solution that uses all three platforms. 

    Teams, Webex, and Zoom can all be integrated. If properly set up, it’s easy to open meetings or chats from one application in a different one. For example, if a user insists on starting a Zoom meeting, users on Teams can join that meeting in Teams. This is especially useful when communicating with connections or customers that don’t use your main meeting platform.  


    Just like in WWII, the Big Three can come together and form the Grand Alliance. Setting up such an alliance, however, can be a challenging process. That’s where Continuant comes in.  

    At Continuant, we have 28 years of experience with communications systems, from PBXs to cloud-based UC platforms. Whether it’s Teams, Webex, Zoom, or even all three, we’ll devise a solution (Continuant Connect has entered the chat) that improves collaboration and keeps your users happy, while also lowering costs wherever possible.  

    Ready to learn more about how
    Continuant can help your organization?

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    David Shelby

    David Shelby graduated from George Fox University in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in English and began writing for Continuant soon after. With the help of Continuant's world-class engineers and subject matter experts, he's dedicated himself to understanding all things business communications. When it comes to UC, AV,...

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