Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Microsoft takes on Slack with a free version of Teams

Microsoft takes on Slack with a free version of Teams

Microsoft today debuted a free version of Microsoft Teams, expanding the reach of the company's Slack competitor beyond the Office 365 ecosystem.

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.

Microsoft's professional collaboration platform Teams has got a huge update - a free tier with support for 40 different languages.

It also provides access and integrations with the online version of Office 365 applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, along with more than 140 third-party application integration with the likes of Adobe, Evernote, Github and Trello.

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By comparison, the free version of Slack only offers search for the last 10,000 messages and 5 GB of file storage with no per-person allowance.

And Microsoft hopes to do just that, or at least grow the popularity of its lesser known offering: Teams.

Slack's free version also only allows 5GB of file storage, with no guest accounts, and only 1:1 video chats.

As of March, some 200,000 organizations were using the chat app - up from 125,000 in September - though Microsoft doesn't break out monthly active user figures. The public preview of Live Events will be available to those using the paid version of Microsoft Teams, Yammer and Microsoft Stream over the next month. Premium features include 1TB of storage per user, meeting recordings, multi-factor authentication, and enhanced security measures.

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Microsoft hasn't said whether these "nudges", as the company calls them, will migrate to the paid version of Outlook.

Microsoft pushed back by touting its integration with Office, Skype, SharePoint and other products.

"We naturally want customers who are using the free version to upgrade to the full Office 365 version", Lori Wright, general manager of Microsoft 365 Teamwork, told Reuters in a June 28 interview. "Whether you're a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of a team inside a large organization, you can start using Teams today". It allows users to collaborate in real-time to create tables, freeform drawings, insert images, or write down notes in one space.

Microsoft also touted new capabilities for its Microsoft 365 suite - which packages Windows 10 with Office 365 and enterprise mobility management tools. Beginning Thursday, the Whiteboard app is freely available for Windows 10 and iOS.

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