Microsoft Teams Offers Free Memberships in 40 Languages

Yolanda Curtis
July 15, 2018

Microsoft has introduced a free version of Teams that uses the vendor's online Office suite in providing a no-cost way for people to compare the collaboration app against rivals Slack and Cisco Webex Teams. By February this year it was the most prolific per capita user of the platform in Australia with around 75 per cent of KordaMentha employees using Teams regularly.

The free version of Teams is limited to 300 people, so if your company or hub exceeds that sum, you'd have to upgrade to a tiered subscription service, part of Office 365 Business Essentials.

During a briefing with reporters this morning, Microsoft acknowledged the fact that SMBs make up more than 95 per cent of businesses globally, and also represent 63 per cent of total employment. Over 140 business apps work with Teams, Microsoft said, and the 2GB/user file limit should allow plenty of storage per user. Much of its popularity comes from the availability of a free tier, which allows smaller teams with budget constraints to use the service as well. It also includes Skype-like individual and group calling capabilities (audio and video) along with 10GB of group cloud storage and an additional 2GB per user.

Non-paying users have access to the same basic features offered in the full app, with unlimited messages and search, guest access, audio and video calls and screen sharing. As a free user, you'll be able to "communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization", Amjadi wrote.

On Thursday, the company revealed a number of updates to both Microsoft 365 and the Microsoft Teams group chat software, which combines meetings, notes, chat, and attachments to help offices work better together. Since that time, Teams has been adopted by more than 200,000 businesses around the globe but hasn't appealed to small outfits and freelancers due to a lack of a free version.

Integrating this sort of would-be helpfulness into software without it being an irritant isn't a cakewalk: Just ask Office 97's Clippy, who will be notorious forever for bursting in on your Word sessions and excitedly telling you that he'd noticed you were writing a letter. With the addition of a free plan on Microsoft Teams, the service now goes head-to-head with Slack, its biggest competitor in the space.

Microsoft first previewed the Teams tool in November 2016 and officially launched it in March 2017.

In Microsoft 365, users can create live and on-demand events, the company announced in the news briefing.

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