Microsoft Takes It To Slack With New Teams Features And A Free Version

Microsoft is really looking to take the fight to Slack with its Teams collaboration tool. For those not in the know, Microsoft Teams is a platform for chatting, file sharing and video/audio calls (among other things) aimed at business users. In addition, Teams offers excellent integration with other Microsoft products including the ever-popular Office suite and Skype
microsoft teams

However, one area where Teams has come up short compared to Slack is when it comes to a free option. A free tier is critical for Teams to gain acceptance with small businesses, and it is a way to give customers a small "taste" of what to expect with the platform and entice to them with a larger feature-set with the paid options. Microsoft is now providing this free solution for customers.

As you might expect, there are some limitations that you have to keep in mind when selecting the free tier. For starters, it only supports 300 people, while team storage is limited to 10GB (with 2GB of storage per member). However, you will still get unlimited chat messages and search, integrated audio and video calling for individuals, group and team meet-ups, unlimited app integrations, and real-time content creation with the full suite of Office Online apps.

This compares favorably to the free version of Slack, which is limited to 5GB of file storage, 10,000 searchable messages and mere 1:1 video chats. However, Slack's free version has no limit on the number of people that can use on the service.

If you want access to full-featured desktop versions of Office apps, businesses will need to step up to the paid versions of Teams. We should note that Microsoft is also bringing some new functionality to Teams as well, including the use of AI to blur a user's background on video calls. That means that your messy office or living room won't be displayed for all of your coworkers to see and scoff at.