Microsoft takes the fight to Slack with a free version of Teams

Microsoft introduces a free version of Teams, going head-to-head with Slack

Microsoft Teams is now available to use for free

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. Teams also allows users to save and search unlimited messages.

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

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. Like the free Slack tier, there are limitations to the free Teams, but Microsoft has picked a very different set of restrictions than Slack's.

Microsoft introduced Teams in late 2016 as an alternative to Slack, the popular team collaboration tool. And of course, it'll tie into all of the Office 365 online apps, like Word, Powerpoint, Excel and OneNote.

10 GB of team file storage plus additional 2 GB per person for personal storage.

Ahead of the Teams announcement, Slack on Tuesday announced improvements to its own chat app's search features that the startup said will make it easier for users to find messages.

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The system is created to enable organizations to reach optimum communication and collaboration-from anywhere in the world. It's available starting today, and as before, a paid plan will cost you $5 per user.

"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.

Thus far, Microsoft has pushed Teams' extensive integration with the company's other products-Office, Skype, SharePoint-as its major distinguishing feature, but Slack has had one important capability that Teams has lacked.

Phone calls, recording meetings, increased security and other features are added if businesses decide to upgrade to a paid version that requires a subscription to Office 365.

Microsoft Whiteboard is now available on Windows 10, but is also coming soon to iOS, said the release. Now, more than 200,000 businesses across 181 markets use Teams to collaborate and get work done.

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