Microsoft rolls out free version of Teams to take on Slack

Microsoft Teams’ new free plan looks like a better deal than Slack’s

Microsoft Teams’ new free plan looks like a better deal than Slack’s

According to a Techcrunch report in May this year, Slack had gone past 8 million monthly active users. It's a freemium model.

Microsoft's comparison table deliberately doubles down of features like the number of searchable messages that it says will be unlimited, availability for 40 languages, unlimited app integrations and 10GB of storage and native audio and video. In addition to the 300-user limit, the free Teams supports up to 2 GB file storage per user, up to 10 GB per team. Application integrations are unrestricted, and Microsoft is of course continuing to promote the tie-ins with the online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. You'll also be able to integrate Teams with other business apps from a roster that includes Adobe, Evernote, Github and Trello. The main "con" we noted at the time was that Teams could only be used as part of Office 365.

Microsoft's free tier of Teams is available from the Office website.

Those are all neat, but I'd argue the free version covers the basics well enough for most teams. But Slack still had a powerful competitive advantage - a free version that let small organizations and teams use Slack at no cost, and then graduate up to the paid version when they needed new capabilities.

A free version of Teams users outside Microsoft's ecosystem a taste of what it can do. In launching its free product, "Microsoft has to learn what other players in the market know - how to convert the free users to paid users", said Wayne Kurtzman, an analyst at IDC.

It offers group chats, private messaging, and chat rooms (called channels) that are organized by topic. The company had reported Teams adoption in 125,000 organisations across the world in September 2017.

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.

Microsoft also touted new capabilities for its Microsoft 365 suite - which packages Windows 10 with Office 365 and enterprise mobility management tools.

The new video conferencing feature allows users to set up either live or on-demand streams of events within the cloud-powered Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Whiteboard is now generally available for Windows 10, coming soon to iOS, and preview on the web, the company announced. These apps will come built-in with Microsoft Teams.

Unlimited chat messages and search.

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