Microsoft now offers a free version of Teams

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Those are all neat, but I'd argue the free version covers the basics well enough for most teams.

Microsoft Teams, the communication and collaboration platform is getting a free version to compete against Slack.

Unlimited chat messages and search. Teams has pitted itself against the likes of Slack since it first appeared, but the arrival of a free edition makes it a viable alternative.

Microsoft is also integrating its translation technology to improve collaboration between multi-language teams (available now for paid users, later in the year for free ones). Free users can also take advantage of audio and video calls as well, whether those are calls that only include two people or the entire team.

At the next level, the free Microsoft Teams pulls way ahead of Slack with integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote - not the least bit surprising given Office is Microsoft's flagship office software suite. You only get 5 GB of storage, 10 integrations, no guest accounts, and videos are limited to 1-on-1 sessions.

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The free version supports up to 300 users per company and offers numerous same features as the version inside Office 365, such as video and audio calling for one-on-one meetings and bigger events, the ability to search messages and integrations with other Microsoft products as well as more than 140 third-party apps.

The system is created to enable organizations to reach optimum communication and collaboration-from anywhere in the world.

Earlier, Microsoft had offered the application along with other Office 365 apps such as SharePoint, Yammer and One Drive. "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 organization, regardless of size", Markezich emphasized. Now, more than 200,000 businesses across 181 markets use Teams to collaborate and get work done.

Also new is Whiteboard, Microsoft's digital app that replicates a... well... whiteboard.

Offering a free version will be an easier way for companies interested in the service to try it out, and could serve as a gateway for more businesses to sign up for the full 365 suite.

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