Microsoft Launches Free Version of Teams, Undercuts Slack

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Since Microsoft 365's launch past year, the platform has seen a growth rate of more than 100%, the company announced in a Thursday press release.

Beginning today, July 12, Microsoft is offering a free, preview version of its Teams group-chat platform, providing Redmond with an entry-level tier that can compete with the free version long offered by its rival Slack.

A person using the Microsoft Teams free version can create groups that collectively do not exceed 300 people. Slack, on the other hand, starts with a free tier and helped it gain tracking quickly among smaller businesses and other teams. 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.

Microsoft
Microsoft

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.

Analysing the way teams communicate is the final piece of the collaboration line-up at Microsoft.

The new offering from Microsoft is a huge competition for Slack, which so far has dominated the enterprise communications business. The version for Apple devices and a web browser-based version are still being developed, but from the information Microsoft has provided, there does not appear to be a version running natively on Android. The paid version provides the same features, but with more storage, enterprise security, and accessibility for an entire organization, no matter the size, said the release.

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Integrating this sort of would-be helpfulness into software without it being an irritant isn't a cakewalk: Just ask Office 97's Clippy, who will be notorious forever for bursting in on your Word sessions and excitedly telling you that he'd noticed you were writing a letter.

"This offer was designed for small businesses and groups of coworkers that don't have commercial Office 365 subscriptions", Microsoft's Raanah Amjadi wrote in a blog post.

With what's on board, it's pretty easy to tell Microsoft wants to take control of the market the free version of Slack now consumes.

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First introduced a year ago, Microsoft 365 brought together various productivity services from Microsoft including Office 365 and Windows 10, in addition to enhanced security, mainly for enterprise customers.

New AI capabilities allow organizations using Microsoft 365 to stage live and on-demand events to engage viewers in new ways. Beginning Thursday, the Whiteboard app is freely available for Windows 10 and iOS.

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