A couple of months ago, traces of a “freemium” features for Microsoft Teams were discovered in a developer preview of the team collaboration app, suggesting that a free version of Teams for MSA accounts could be near. Yesterday, Microsoft detective WalkingCat discovered new mentions of this free tier in official documentation.
Microsoft has since taken down the links describing this “free” version of Microsoft Teams, but the official description provided by Thurrott.com clearly explains that this new tier will be for small businesses:
Microsoft Teams (free) is intended for use by organizations, such as small businesses or groups of coworkers. If you were invited to join a group in Microsoft Teams (free), the group you are joining in the Microsoft Teams (free) instance will be considered your organization for the purposes of this notice, and the person administering the group will be considered the administrator of your account in Microsoft Teams (free).
Offering a free tier for Microsoft Teams makes sense as this strategy worked really well for competitor Slack. Since its launch last year, Teams has already become a core app in Office 365 that gets iterative updates every month, and making it a freemium product could help convince more SMBs to jump on the Office 365 bandwagon. We don't know yet when Microsoft will officially announce this new free tier, but the fact that it briefly appeared in official documentation suggests that it's a little bit closer to reality.