Beginning today, July 12, Microsoft is offering a free, preview version of its Teams group-chat platform, providing Redmond with an entry-level tier that can compete with the free version long offered by its rival Slack. The free version of Teams — rumored to be coming since earlier this year — doesn’t require users to subscribe to a business version of Office 365, unlike the current version of Teams. The free version also doesn’t require a Microsoft email account to sign up; any email address works. The free version is available immediately in 40 languages and is available immediately at Office.com/TeamsFree. This version, which is for small/mid-size businesses and limited to use by groups of 300 people, includes unlimited chat messages and search; audio and video calling for individuals groups and teams; 10 GB of team file storage, plus an additional 2 GB per person for personal storage; integration with Office Online (web) apps; and more. What’s not included in the free version of Microsoft Teams, but is part of the paid version? Scheduled meetings, meeting recording with Microsoft Stream, phone calls and audio conferencing, enforced multi-factor authentication, admin tools for managing users and apps, searchable transcription and timecoding and more. I think it’s fair to say the free version is definitely meant to work like a freemium service and entice users to upgrade to the paid version of Teams. In other Microsoft collaboration news, the company also is adding to Microsoft 365/Office 365 a new way to create live and… [Read full story]
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