Microsoft is gunning for Slack in the workplace communication sector, upping the competition by adding a free tier to Microsoft Teams.
Slack has been dominating the workplace communication space for years, as numerous tech firms rely on it on a daily basis. Microsoft joined the party back in 2016 with Microsoft Teams, offering some compelling features, but it only had paid subscriptions.
It's estimated that roughly 200,000 businesses got onboard with Microsoft Teams, but the lack of a free version surely limited its success and adoption rate.
Conditioning Microsoft Teams to an Office 365 paid subscription made it more challenging for freelancers or small businesses to adopt the service, so Slack had a clear advantage in this respect.
Free Version Of Microsoft Teams
Starting now, Microsoft Teams is significantly more competitive, as it finally has a free version so that anyone can try it out. This free tier will support up to 300 people, offering unlimited search and chat messages. It comes with built-in group audio and video calling, guest access support, unlimited app integrations, and more.
The free Microsoft Teams tier includes most of the features that have been available so far, albeit a few premium features will still be limited to paid subscribers. The available storage for team files will also be limited to 10 GB with the free version of Microsoft Teams, which would translate to 2 GB for each team member.
By comparison, the free version of Slack offers 10,000 searchable messages (versus unlimited searchable messages on Teams), 10 app integrations (versus unlimited app integrations on Teams), no guest accounts, 5 GB of file storage space, and just one-on-one video chats.
In this context, Microsoft Teams' free version is shaping up as a fierce competitor to Slack, offering more options and fewer limitations.
Free Microsoft Teams: Limitations
It's worth pointing out, however, that the free version of Microsoft Teams will only support the web versions of Word, Excel, and other such apps, from Office Online. The full desktop versions of the apps, meanwhile, will be available to those with a paid Office 365 subscription. The web versions of the apps are not as powerful as the desktop versions, but they have nonetheless improved recently thanks to various updates.
Other apps such as OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, and other Office 365 services are also off the table with the free version of Microsoft Teams, as are other features such as scheduled meetings, meeting recording, and phone calls, and audio conferencing.