Microsoft debuts free tier in competitive workplace chat app market

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

Starting today, Microsoft says, Teams' free version is available around the world in 40 languages.

First of all, Microsoft Teams, the company's collaboration tool created to rival the likes of Slack, is getting a free tier for the first time, having previously been limited to Office 365 users. 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.

After its launch past year, Microsoft Teams now functions in more than 200,000 businesses across 181 markets, according to the press release.

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.

We have been reporting about Microsoft planning a free version of Teams for a while. 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.

You can store unlimited chat messages in Teams free version and just like the premium version, it also comes with built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and small businesses.

By comparison, the free version of Slack is limited to 10 app integrations, 5GB of file storage and doesn't permit guest access.

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

"What we've learnt from Teams in the first 16 months is that, firstly, it's fantastic in terms of a straight off-the-bat free service or additional value inside Office 365", Heard said.

To address the growing collaboration needs of our customers, past year we introduced Microsoft Teams, a powerful hub for teamwork that brings together chat, meetings, calling, files, and apps into a shared workspace in Microsoft 365.

Along with content creation with Office Online Apps, the free Microsoft Teams has one major selling point that Slack will never be able to match: full integration into the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, itself already a highly popular enterprise workplace suite of office productivity tools, complete with additional storage, enterprise security and compliance functionality.

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

Microsoft also is announcing officially today that its Microsoft Whiteboard app is now generally available for Windows 10.

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