Small and midsized businesses got some welcome news this week as Microsoft on Thursday launched a free version of its Slack competitor called Teams.
The free version, available worldwide in 40 languages, offers support for up to 300 users, plus unlimited chat messages and search capabilities. Free Teams users get 10GB of team file storage plus 2GB per person for personal storage.
“This offer was designed for small businesses and groups of coworkers that don’t have commercial Office 365 subscriptions,” Microsoft’s Raanah Amjadi wrote in a blog post.
The free version offers built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and full teams; integrated Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote apps; and unlimited integrations with more than 140 business apps such as Evernote and Trello. As a free user, you’ll be able to “communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization,” Amjadi wrote.
Slack’s free tier, on the other hand, offers 5GB of storage, the ability to search and browse up to 10,000 most recent messages; and up to 10 integrations with services like Twitter and Dropbox.
Best Online Collaboration Software
Microsoft Teams earned an “excellent” rating in PCMag’s March 2017 review, and our coveted Editors’ Choice award. The main “con” we noted at the time was that Teams could only be used as part of Office 365. Now, anyone with a corporate or consumer email address can sign up and use Teams.
“If you’ve ever felt a disconnect between your applications, files, and coworkers, Microsoft Teams is designed with you in mind,” we wrote in our review. “The tool is a cloud-based collaboration chat app that takes the best aspects of Slack and connects them to Office 365, as well as more than 150 third-party applications.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft also this week announced the general availability of its free Whiteboard app for Windows 10.
“Forget taking photos of conference room whiteboards or marking them with ‘Do Not Erase,'” Jared Spataro wrote in a Thursday blog post. “With the Whiteboard app, your brainstorming sessions are saved automatically to the Microsoft cloud, so you can pick up where you left off, whenever – and wherever – inspiration strikes next.”
The software giant first released a preview of the app in December and said more than 200,000 people have tried it out since then.