Microsoft Launches Free Version of its Slack Competitor

Microsoft Launches Free Version of its Slack Competitor

This is an important step for Microsoft and its Teams platform as it takes on Slack which has captivated the startup world with its modern take on a communication platform. "Teams in Microsoft 365 includes everything in the free version plus additional storage, enterprise security, and compliance, and it can be used for your whole organisation, regardless of size", Markezich said.

A Teams group has up to 10 GB of file storage, plus an additional 2 GB per member for personal storage. The tool-which is available in 40 languages-includes integrations with Office and lets you link more than 140 different apps, including Evernote and Trello, with your account. As a free user, you'll be able to "communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization", Amjadi wrote.

Slack has more than 1,500 third-party app integrations, and Cisco's Webex Teams is a video-centric collaboration platform that works well with Cisco's networking hardware and software.

As of March, some 200,000 organizations were using the chat app - up from 125,000 in September - though Microsoft doesn't break out monthly active user figures. Everything lives inside Teams - people don't recognise they are leveraging Skype or SharePoint, or Word or Excel, or Power BI.

The fact that Teams was limited to an Office 365 subscription, also meant it was hard to attract smaller businesses or freelancers to use the app, as smaller players without Office 365 subscriptions that wanted to try Teams were previously limited to a month-long trial.

Microsoft at the time said that there were also opportunities for traditional IT solution providers to integrate existing applications into Teams.

The free version of Microsoft Teams is available for anyone to download and try starting today. "While Slack was moving from small groups to large groups, Microsoft started with Teams and large enterprises and [is] moving their way down the stack", said Moorhead.

Otherwise, Microsoft introduced a few other nifty new collaboration features in Office 365: A background blur feature, for instance, turns the background of your video call into a nondescript blob, solving a major headache for lots of users. Microsoft officials said the app will be "coming soon" to iOS and be available soon as a preview on the web.

The new video conferencing feature allows users to set up either live or on-demand streams of events within the cloud-powered Microsoft 365.