Microsoft Launches Free Version of Teams, Undercuts Slack

Posted on July 12, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Office 365 with 13 Comments

We have been reporting about Microsoft planning a free version of Teams for a while. And today, Microsoft’s Slack clone is finally ready to compete with Slack itself. Redmond is launching a free version of Teams this week, letting anyone use the service without needing to single penny. That brings Teams in-line with everyone’s favourite service Slack, but is it good enough?

Both Slack and Teams limit free users, but as it turns out, Microsoft has managed to gain a competitive advantage over Slack. Microsoft Teams’ free version comes with unlimited chat messages and search, unlimited app integrations, 10GB of team storage, 2GB of storage per user, native audio and video calling for 1:1 conversations, groups, and the full team. Teams users will also get background blur on videos for privacy coming later this year. That’s a ton of features you are getting for free.

Slack, on the other hand, is relatively limited. First, you only get to search the most recent 10 thousand messages — which, by the way, is actually one of the most annoying and limiting parts of Slack’s free product. It’s nowhere close to Teams’ unlimited searchable messages. Slack also limits free users to 10 app integrations, 5GB file storage, and audio and video calling for 1:1 conversations only.

The version of Microsoft Teams is rolling out today, and that’ll most probably boost its growth. Microsoft says it has 200,000 organisations using Teams at this point in time, and that’s only going to increase with the new free version. Slack continues to be everyone’s favourite, though, so Microsoft still has a ton of work left to do in order to grab everyone’s attention. The free version will definitely get some traction, but it’s probably not enough.

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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Microsoft Launches Free Version of Teams, Undercuts Slack”

  1. bennett_cg

    The previous limitations on paid company-only organizations really limited the potential for this. Glad to see it opening up, and taking Slack head-on.

  2. JaseCutler

    While Teams on a comparison chart marks off more, there's still the nitty gritty stuff that Slack has gotten figured that Teams is way behind on. And though they sound small, it makes big differences. I went from a Slack shop to a Teams shop:

    • Slack has way more customize able channel notifications
    • Slack spins up and down channels way easier
    • UI is way more friendly to scaling small (why do I want my chat window to be full screen if it's just chat?)
    • Showing channels and user chats inline

    Other things too... It's just things that Slack has spent years figuring out.

    Teams is definitely shaping up to be a competitor, but in actual usage of the products Teams is definitely showing it's status as still 'In progress'.

  3. Silversee

    "Slack continues to be everyone’s favourite, though, so Microsoft still has a ton of work left to do in order to grab everyone’s attention. The free version will definitely get some traction, but it’s probably not enough."

    it's mostly a cultural issue. Teams has gained traction with Microsoft's traditional corporate accounts, while Slack remains the choice for start ups, web and mobile developers, and smaller companies in general. These organizations often don't trust Microsoft or see them fitting into Internet culture in general.

    This was the biggest reason I had hoped Microsoft would purchase Slack instead of building their own solution. Much as with Github, it could have been a way to gain entry into organizations that had not previously considered Microsoft.

    As it stands, Microsoft has a lot more work to do to overcome its image.

  4. JHeredia

    I can't use it with an email address, so not super useful in my, admitted possibly narrow, use-case

  5. skane2600

    I think these chat applications are a bit of a fad, but Slack is what all the cool kids are using so Teams will probably have an uphill battle regardless of features.

    • Chris Payne

      In reply to skane2600:

      I agreed with you until Teams matured... it really now is much more than chat, with a built in wiki, file sharing, video conferencing, etc. It's a full team/project management software and not just glorified chat like Slack.

      • skane2600

        In reply to unkinected:

        I guess I'm not a big collaboration guy. Most of these tools seem to offer the same capabilities that have existed for decades but with a twist. For example, it's not as if we couldn't share documentation before Wikis.

        I guess these tools are more useful when the team is geographically separated.

        • Chris Payne

          In reply to skane2600:

          Oh I agree.. in the end it's mostly just glorified chat, but yet somehow that has become the new hotness is work places. I don't quite get it. But as far as glorified chat apps go, Teams is leagues beyond Slack, IMO.

  6. jhuylebroeck

    I use Teams both for my company as the NGO I'm volunteering in. It's quite strenuous that I can't switch between account and/or use them simultaneously. Though I've never used Slack, it's my understanding that that platform is way simpler when it comes to the use of multiple organisation tenants/accounts. I hope this will change soon.

  7. jimchamplin

    It's not allowing me to log in. "Looks like you don't have access to this version of Teams yet" it tells me.

    Good show, boys!

    Logged out and logged back in. The Store app tells me to try the web app, which just refreshes endlessly.

    Ah... What a classic Microsoft bungle.