A few weeks back, Microsoft sounded the trumpets, set off a few fireworks, and told the world that it was rolling out 3×3 views while calling with a small team. But the problem here, and it’s mostly a “we can do that too” problem, is that Zoom offers a view of up to 7×7.
With Microsoft hunting down every possible way to make Teams better, the company will not sit back and let Zoom steal the headlines with its better functionality. To little surprise, the company is working on adding 7×7 calling to Teams for those who want to look at their postage-stamped size coworkers on large Teams calls.
Those who have used the feature at the company say that the testing is in the early stages of development and I don’t expect it to arrive in the immediate future. Microsoft has also publicly confirmed that it is working on this feature but chasing down what other products offer, isn’t always a solid business strategy.
For example, if Microsoft is only looking to offer 7×7 calling, Zoom is likely working on 8×8 or 9×9, and this puts both companies in a pointless rat-race of functionality that is not all that functional. Unless you have a very large monitor, displaying everyone on a call isn’t always optimal or even necessary and this is ignoring any bandwidth challenges streaming that many faces present.
What I hope Microsoft is building is improved video features for the grid. Make it easier to pin multiple people in one place on the screen and then remember that location for the next group call or provide more robust options for sharing desktops sharing, including multiple users demoing at the same time.
Simply matching what a competitor offers is a good start but is far from the end-goal. And to be fair to Microsoft, we do not have their entire roadmap visible about what features they are, or are not, adding to the tool. That being said, the company is pushing out updates quickly, and hopefully, the company is able to find a user-friendly way to increase call capacity without it becoming a novelty of tiny faces.