Microsoft this week announced it is offering a free version of its Microsoft Teams group chat and collaboration software. The free version is meant to go head-to-head with the free version of the popular Slack team collaboration tool. Microsoft Teams has been available since late-2016 but required an Office 365 Business subscription. Slack, on the other hand, starts with a free tier and helped it gain tracking quickly among smaller businesses and other teams.
Microsoft Teams Free
The free version of Teams is available now and doesn’t require you to be an Office 365 subscriber. In fact, you don’t even need a Microsoft account to sign up; any email address will get you started. The free version is aimed at small to mid-size businesses and can be used by groups of up to 300 people. It includes unlimited chat and message search, unlimited app integrations, audio and video conference calling, 10GB of team storage plus an additional 2GB per person for personal storage, and a lot more.
In fact, the current free Teams package is offering far more than the Slack free tier. Slack is limited to only 10 app integrations, 5GB file storage and limits search to the most recent 10 thousand messages.
Like Slack, it also works across devices including Windows desktop, macOS, Android, and iOS. Here is a look at the list of features you get from the Microsoft Teams free version according to Microsoft:
The free version includes the following for up to 300 people:
- Unlimited chat messages and search.
- Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and full team meetups.
- 10 GB of team file storage plus an additional 2 GB per person for personal storage.
- Integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
- Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from—including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello.
- Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure.
Of course, there are more powerful features that aren’t included in the entry-level version. For example, scheduled meetings recorded with Microsoft Stream, searchable meeting transcriptions, and Exchange hosting isn’t supported. However, Microsoft does offer those features starting with an Essentials plan for $5 per user/month and Premium for $12.50 per user/month. To learn more about the different plans, check out the Teams comparison chart.
This is a smart, albeit late, move by Microsoft to provide an incentive for users to start using its collaboration software. If you’ve been using slack and want to check out what Microsoft has to offer, you can sign up for Microsoft Teams (free). Check out the video below that demonstrates how a small business startup is getting along with Microsoft Teams.