Microsoft takes on Slack with free version of Teams

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Today, Microsoft is offering a free version of Teams that anyone can sign up to and use.

The free version of the product is meant to make it easy for potential customers, typically teams of workers and small businesses, to start using Microsoft's products and become embedded in them. First, you only get to search the most recent 10 thousand messages - which, by the way, is actually one of the most annoying and limiting parts of Slack's free product. With Teams, which appears to be a more compelling alternative to Slack.

Both Slack and Teams limit free users, but as it turns out, Microsoft has managed to gain a competitive advantage over Slack.

Microsoft introduced Teams in March past year, making it available as part of Office 365 to new and existing customers, in response to popular collaboration tools from the likes of Slack, Atlassian and Facebook. Although Slack does offer one-to-one audio calling, it doesn't provide support for group calls and full team meetups. And of course, it'll tie into all of the Office 365 online apps, like Word, Powerpoint, Excel and OneNote.

The system is created to enable organizations to reach optimum communication and collaboration-from anywhere in the world.

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

To address the growing collaboration needs of our customers, a year ago we introduced Microsoft Teams, a powerful hub for teamwork that brings together chat, meetings, calling, files, and apps into a shared workspace in Microsoft 365. While the paid-for versions of Teams offer 1TB of storage per user, the free version cuts this back to 2GB per user, but also includes 10GB of shared storage.

"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. Upgrading to the paid version also gives you more storage, enterprise security and compliance, and an unlimited number of users.

Microsoft has also offered unlimited access to a selection of 140 third-party app integrations with this free version.

'The goal is to get Teams to be used by as many people as possible, ' said Alan Lepofsky, analyst with Constellation Research.

Microsoft has continued to add features to Teams since launch, such shifting its Skype for Business cloud customers into Teams, giving the new platform the ability to make and recieve landline and mobile calls.