Microsoft counters Slack with a free version of Teams

Friday, 13 Jul, 2018

The free version of the product is meant to make it easy for potential customers, typically teams of workers and small businesses, to start using Microsoft's products and become embedded in them.

A free tier is pretty much essential for smaller businesses and companies.

So what's missing? Well for a start you can't integrate fully with the rest of Microsoft Office - free users can only use the browser-based versions of the apps. Maybe you speak one of them? Included are unlimited chat and search, audio and video calling, and 10GB of team file storage and 2GB of personal storage per person. First, you only get to search the most recent 10 thousand messages - which, by the way, is actually one of the most annoying and limiting parts of Slack's free product. Free users can also take advantage of audio and video calls as well, whether those are calls that only include two people or the entire 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.

Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from-including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello.

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.

Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft's secure, global infrastructure.

The free version will offer access to group messaging and collaboration app without requiring an Office 365 subscription. Subscribers will also be able to use features like extra storage, scheduling and recording meetings, security compliance, and more.

Also new is Whiteboard, Microsoft's digital app that replicates a... well... whiteboard.

Along with the announcement about the free version of Microsoft Teams, Microsoft today announced new features in Microsoft 365 that will allow anyone to create live and on-demand events.

A stripped down free version is what got Slack to its market-leading position in the first place and it appears that Microsoft fancies a bit of that action.