When to use Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom

Product Overview: 

Skype for Business unifies voice and video calls, Skype for Business Meetings, presence, and instant messaging in one easy-to-use client, making it simple to choose and switch between different forms of communication. Skype for Business is the telephony solution offered to the University of Iowa campus enabling faculty and staff to make and receive traditional telephone calls through the Skype for Business client. 

Microsoft Teams is your online chat-based hub for teamwork integrated with your Office 365 email account. It is an app that helps you and your team have real-time conversations using chat or video chat, securely share and collaborate on files, and plan meetings or projects with others at the University of Iowa.

Zoom is a web conferencing solution offered by the University of Iowa.  Zoom can be used to meet with other people at Iowa, or people external to the university.  Zoom integrates with ICON, allows users to meet in online meetings, share audio and video information, schedule webinars, use questionnaires in meetings, and much more.


For information regarding data compliance for Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, please refer to the Data Classification Guide to IT Services support article provided by the Information Security & Policy Office. 

Meeting Scenarios: 

Meeting Scenario Recommended Product
Academic (Online Classes and Teaching) Zoom
Office Hours Zoom
Large Departmental Meetings (10+ participants) Zoom or Microsoft Teams
Small Departmental Meetings (1-10 participants) Skype for BusinessMicrosoft Teams, or Zoom
One to One Conversations Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams

Product Comparison:

Features Skype for Business Microsoft Teams Zoom
Available To Faculty, Staff Students, Faculty, Staff Students, Faculty, Staff
Desktop App Windows, macOS Windows, macOS, Linux Windows, macOS, Linux
Mobile App iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android
Browser Support Yes, the Skype for Business meeting plugin is required. Yes Yes; the Zoom Client for Meetings is required. 
Supported Browsers Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11, Safari, Google Chrome Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11, Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox
Maximum Meeting Attendees 300 1000 300
Audio and Video
HD Video Capable Yes Yes Yes
Join Meeting with Audio Only Yes Yes Yes
Join Meeting by Phone (Domestic) Yes No Yes
Join Meeting by Toll-Free Number No No No
Meeting Captioning No Yes; Live Captioning Yes; Live Captioning, Manual Captioning and 3rd Party Utilities
Make and Receive Telephone Calls Yes No No
Chat Within Meetings Yes Yes Yes
Chat Outside of Meetings Yes Yes Yes
Content Sharing
Screen Sharing Yes Yes Yes
Application Sharing Yes Yes Yes
Annotate Shared Content No No Yes
Whiteboard Yes Yes Yes
Meeting Capabilities
Breakout Rooms No Yes Yes
Polling Yes Yes; using Microsoft Forms Yes
Cloud Recording No Yes Yes
Local Recording Yes No Yes
Join Before Host Yes Yes Yes; off by default, can be turned on per meeting. 
Join Meetings from H.323 or SIP Devices No No Yes
Outlook Calendar Integration Yes Yes Yes; with the Zoom for Outlook plugin
Google Calendar Integration No No Yes
ICON No No Yes
    Article number: 
    Last updated: 
    September 9, 2021