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Microsoft Adds Teams Freebie

When it comes to capturing enterprise attention for its team collaboration app, Teams, Microsoft has used Office 365 license bundling and a free one-year trial offer as carrots. Today it's offering yet another enticement: a free version.

The Teams freebie news comes as part of a handful of announcements Microsoft made today to mark the one-year anniversary of Microsoft 365, its workplace hub (the enterprise version of which integrates Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security). It is available today worldwide, in 40 languages, for use among up to 300 people, wrote Ron Markezich, corporate VP for Microsoft, in an announcement blog.

The free Teams app comes with:

  • Unlimited chat messages and search
  • One-to-one and group audio and video calling
  • 10 GB of file storage per team, plus an additional 2 GB per person
  • Integration with Office Online apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
  • Unlimited integration with more than 140 third-party business apps, including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello
  • Ability to use Teams for external conversations as well as internal communications, across Microsoft's global infrastructure

Teams in Microsoft 365 includes everything in the free version plus additional storage, enterprise security, and compliance, and is available for use across an organization, regardless of size.

Besides broadening the scope of Microsoft 365 and the reach of Teams, undoubtedly another goal of this free version (explicitly stated or otherwise) is to further challenge Slack, which defined the technology category. In the post, Markezich shared the example of Teams customer The Hustle Media Company, a previous Slack user.

In a prepared quote, The Hustle's VP of Media Adam Ryan noted how a quadrupling of company size in the last year made the need for a solution for connecting all of its offices apparent. "As previous Slack users, we found that Microsoft Teams has all the features that other chat-based apps bring, but the teamwork hub allows everything to live in one place," he said.

Microsoft is targeting microbusinesses, small businesses, or teams in larger organizations with its free version of Teams.

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