Tech giants offer free tools to support remote working


Enterprise plans of Microsoft Teams & Google Hangouts Meet are now available on extended free trials.

Earlier this month, both Microsoft and Google announced that they would be offering corporate customers extended access to enterprise versions of online collaboration tools in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Advanced features in Google’s Hangouts Meet include the ability to host meetings with up to 250 participants and livestreams with up to 100,000 viewers. Similarly, Microsoft are offering a six month free trial of its Teams premium tier, and removing restrictions around video-conferencing on its free plan.


Every marketer, strategist, CEO and founder knows by now that brand talk is cheap. Sure, you’ve read all the babble about how consumers want brands with a human touch. But in times of crisis or pain, people will care little about what brands say and everything about what they actually do to practically make people’s lives better. Long-time readers will remember a Tesla’s inspirational example of this, when it remotely upgraded the battery range of customers’ vehicles in affected areas during Hurricane Irma to enable them to flee the oncoming storm! Do you have relevant tools or resources that you could make available to people facing short-term crises?

There’s a very fine line to walk here though. While we applaud these moves from Google and Microsoft, and while they are both undoubtedly well-meaning today, neither organization will be blind to the opportunities that this will create in the future. At a time when both giants are facing fierce competition from Zoom and Slack, offering these enhanced services to people for free will lead to some becoming (paying) customers. But there’s a bigger picture, beyond these platforms. Crises often force people to try new things and behave differently, and these initially short term changes will have long term impacts, too.

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