Microsoft® is no longer the dominant player in the computing space for many, but as they have done in the past, they continue to find ways to remain relevant and competitive. Ironically, the company that once managed to dictate terms has resorted to changing their strategy to one which occasionally results in chasing market share by giving away software! We saw it with the year-long Windows™ 10 upgrade offer, and we’re seeing it again today with Microsoft Teams, the communication and collaboration application which is intended to compete with Slack™, Google Hangouts™, and others.
Collaboration tools have become increasingly popular for business and personal use. The free version of Teams supports up to 300 users, and includes 10 GB of shared storage and 2 GB of personal storage per person. It offers group voice and video calling and unlimited chat messaging and searching. Teams also ties into online versions of Word, Excel™, PowerPoint™ and OneNote™, and integrates with more than 140 third-party apps. The free version of Teams does not include email hosting through Exchange or Outlook™, but collaboration apps are intended to reduce the need for email in many instances, so while Teams isn’t likely to replace email entirely, the free version offers some valuable new functionality.
Slack offers a free version as well, but it includes less search functionality than Teams. Slack’s free version includes 5 GB shared storage, connectivity to just 10 third-party apps, and one-to-one voice and video calls, rather than group calling.
Of course, Microsoft’s goal is to attract users to Teams, then upsell them to full versions of Office 365™, but they are also using Teams to lure customers away from Google by offering another avenue to introduce them to O365 apps.
The free version of Teams is available in 35 languages and more than 150 markets.