Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Microsoft introduces a free version of Teams, going head-to-head with Slack

Microsoft introduces a free version of Teams, going head-to-head with Slack Microsoft Teams is now available to use for free
Emmett Howard | 13 July, 2018, 20:02

While it's late to the party, Microsoft is offering a surprisingly strong set of features with the free version of Teams.

Microsoft has moved to staunch leakage from its productivity ecosystem to collaboration rivals Slack and Atlassian by launching a free version of its Teams tool to spur adoption by users without paid licences.

Unlimited chat messages and search.

Originally, Slack was meant for team members to communicate, but it has expanded to become a more social platform as well.

The freemium model now on offer goes some way to addressing that disconnect because corporate Microsoft users will now be able to push people onto teams without the pertinent question of who pays for a license bogging down adoption.

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Both Slack and Teams limit free users, but as it turns out, Microsoft has managed to gain a competitive advantage over Slack. Free Teams supports group voice and video calling, too; Slack's free tier is restricted to 1:1 video calls. You only get 5 GB of storage, 10 integrations, no guest accounts, and videos are limited to 1-on-1 sessions. And of course, it'll tie into all of the Office 365 online apps, like Word, Powerpoint, Excel and OneNote. Included are unlimited chat and search, audio and video calling, and 10GB of team file storage and 2GB of personal storage per person. Whether you're a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of a team inside a large organization, you can start using Teams today. Granted, there's always the chance Slack could improve its free offering to counter Microsoft, but we've heard of no such plans yet.

Thus far, Microsoft has pushed Teams' extensive integration with the company's other products-Office, Skype, SharePoint-as its major distinguishing feature, but Slack has had one important capability that Teams has lacked.

Looking ahead, Microsoft laid out a few upgrades for Teams that free and paying customers can look forward to. Subscribers will also be able to use features like extra storage, scheduling and recording meetings, security compliance, and more.

'The goal is to get Teams to be used by as many people as possible, ' said Alan Lepofsky, analyst with Constellation Research.

Microsoft Whiteboard is now available on Windows 10, but is also coming soon to iOS, said the release.

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