Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Collaboration news and opinions

Microsoft Surface Earbuds, are they Microsoft Teams Certified?

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Microsoft just announced Microsoft Surface Earbuds, to go alongside their over ear headphones.

You can check out the marketing video and the Microsoft launch video

They feature

  • Gesture controls
  • Dual directional mic array with noise reduction
  • Charging case giving up to 24 hours battery life
  • “Office 365 Integration” (the video example is apparently taping them to move PowerPoint slides forward)

Available later this year starting at $249.

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The Keynote demo showed speech to text in PowerPoint. That’s more a feature of PowerPoint and Office 365 than the earbuds. In the keynote and the marketing videos, the Microsoft Teams logo is flashed up.

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However, like the surface over-ear headphones, it looks like they will not be Microsoft Teams certified.

The key reason being wireless headsets or earbuds need a USB dongle to meet the current certification requirements. Microsoft and headset vendors say the Bluetooth chips/stack in most laptops is not “voice grade”/good enough quality. Therefore the dongle handles the Bluetooth and to the PC its a USB device.

Today the Jabra’ 65t earbuds are certified for Microsoft Teams, but they do ship with a USB dongle

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I still don’t fully understand the technicalities of this, the Bluetooth in phones and iPads seems to be ok for voice quality. If any experts want to enlighten me please do, I would love to do a deeper blog on this.

In the Surface’s case, Microsoft owns the PC/laptop hardware, could they not put the best Bluetooth technology in the devices? Even if they were only certified in combination with Surface hardware that might be interesting.

For now, if you want certified buds, the Jabra 655’s are the best option to look at.

About the author

Tom Arbuthnot

A Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Master, Tom Arbuthnot is Principal Solutions Architect at Microsoft Collaboration specialists Modality Systems.

Tom stays up to date with industry developments and shares news and his opinions on his blog, Microsoft Teams Podcast and email list. He is a regular speaker at events around the world.

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  • I wonder this too. I’m sure ILYA BUKSHTEYN can comment :) but I suspect it’s both the Voice quality and maybe the fact BT does not allow you to control the call properly directly from the headset (mute etc)? But I wish MS maybe could add an USB dongle as an option for those who want Teams certified.

  • Hi Tom- the Bluetooth in laptops ( and mobiles ) is narrowband, so cannot carry the HD voice required for certification. In addition, other mandatory certification call controls such as volume adjust and call answer/ end are not engineered into the pc Bluetooth stack,

  • I stopped recommending internal employees follow the teams certified device list based simply on economy of value and chance of dev cycle outrunning the certification cycle.

    Now I’m telling people to just get whatever they want and if it ends up not working we’ll send it back / refund them and they can use the mobile client during that time. nobody has bought anything they needed to send back so far.

    Plus there’s a serious logic gap with a certification program that doesn’t include built-in audio/mic array chipsets for laptops and mobile devices but then makes the claim that external devices certified for the same operating systems aren’t guaranteed to work. Okay Microsoft… what a guarantee.

Tom Talks Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Collaboration news and opinions