It's now been a little more than a year since Microsoft launched its Slack competitor called Microsoft Teams, which is now set to replace Skype for Business as the main communication hub for Office 365. Microsoft says that more than 200,000 businesses are now using the team communication app across 181 markets, but after enabling Guest Access for consumer accounts earlier this year Microsoft really needed a free tier to really compete with Slack.
That's exactly what Microsoft announced today, with Microsoft CVP Ron Markezich describing the new offering as "a powerful introduction to Microsoft 365." Starting today, freelancers, SMBs and everyone else can try a free version of Microsoft Teams and collaborate with up to 300 people. There are obviously some limitations compared to the full-fledged version of Microsoft Teams for Office 365 customers, but here is everything that's included in the free version:
- Unlimited chat messages and search.
- Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and full team meetups.
- 10 GB of team file storage plus additional 2 GB per person for personal storage.
- Integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
- Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from—including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello.
- Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure.
We're glad to see that Microsoft hasn't left the team video meetups and integrations with third-party apps behind a paywall. This free version is pretty great value overall, but Microsoft still hopes to get some users on board with the paid version eventually. "Teams in Microsoft 365 includes everything in the free version plus additional storage, enterprise security, and compliance, and it can be used for your whole organization, regardless of size," Markezich emphasized.
You can try out the free version of Teams at Office.com/TeamsFree