Microsoft takes the fight to Slack with a free version of Teams

Isaac Cain
July 15, 2018

Microsoft Corp. dropped a bunch of news ahead of its annual Inspire event in Las Vegas next week, including updates to Office 365 and Microsoft 365, but the most compelling announcement of all might be the launch of a free version of Teams.

This is an important step for Microsoft and its Teams platform as it takes on Slack which has captivated the startup world with its modern take on a communication platform.

Previously bundled with Office 365, Microsoft's latest collaboration platform Teams is now available in a free version in 40 languages.

Microsoft Teams, conversely, will become more accessible to a wider audience, allowing Microsoft to target users that may otherwise have been attracted by Slack's free tier.

The free version of Teams supports up to 300 users and provides unlimited chat and search functionality. It comes with 10GB of team file storage and 2GB of personal storage per person, TechCrunch reported.

Non-paying users have access to the same basic features offered in the full app, with unlimited messages and search, guest access, audio and video calls and screen sharing.

Microsoft takes the fight to Slack with a free version of Teams

Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft's secure, global infrastructure. However, Microsoft does offer those features starting with an Essentials plan for $5 per user/month and Premium for $12.50 per user/month.

Larry Cannell, a research director at analyst firm Gartner, has described the free Teams move by Microsoft as "aggressive" and reminiscent of previous giveaways of software like Yammer and Windows SharePoint Services.

Today, Microsoft is offering a free version of Teams that anyone can sign up to and use.

With what's on board, it's pretty easy to tell Microsoft wants to take control of the market the free version of Slack now consumes. "Whether you're a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of a team inside a large organization, you can start using Teams today".

In March past year Microsoft made Teams available to all Office 365 subscribers with Business Essentials, Business Premium and Enterprise plans.

Using collaborative insights from Microsoft Graph, Workplace Analytics uses aggregate data to help improve team collaboration, share insights, and recommend habits to particular teams, said the release. Beginning Thursday, the Whiteboard app is freely available for Windows 10 and iOS.

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