Enlarge / Microsoft Teams on other units.


Ever since its advent, Microsoft’s Teams—a collaboration software for chatting, sharing paperwork, video, and voice calling—has had one primary competitor: Slack. Teams used to be obviously constructed as a reaction to Slack’s rising undertaking presence, with its fashion of IRC-style chatrooms profitable hearts and minds.

Thus some distance, Microsoft has driven Teams’ intensive integration with the corporate’s different merchandise—Office, Skype, SharePoint—as its primary distinguishing characteristic, however Slack has had one essential capacity that Teams has lacked. The beginning worth for Slack is free. The free version has all varieties of obstacles—handiest 5GB of recordsdata may also be stored, handiest 10,000 strains of chat may also be considered, and integrations with different programs are limited—however it’s sufficient to get a way of ways the product works and the way it can have compatibility in a company. The free version additionally signifies that Slack has discovered a job in quite a lot of non-paying spheres, similar to open supply building, serving a an identical position to the only as soon as served via IRC.

Today, Microsoft is providing a free version of Teams that anybody can enroll to and use. Like the free Slack tier, there are obstacles to the free Teams, however Microsoft has picked an overly other set of restrictions than Slack’s. There’s no 10,000 message prohibit—even free customers can get right of entry to and seek all their chat historical past—and the information limits are considerably upper, at 10GB plus 2GB consistent with particular person. Free Teams helps workforce voice and video calling, too; Slack’s free tier is specific to 1:1 video calls. Application integrations are unrestricted, and Microsoft is after all proceeding to advertise the tie-ins with the web variations of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

On the opposite hand, the free Teams is proscribed to 300 other people. Slack, against this, has no such prohibit.

Microsoft could also be selling some new options for all Teams customers, each paid and unpaid. Coming later this yr is a background blur characteristic for video chatting. If this works in addition to it gave the impression to paintings in a temporary demo, it can be a great addition for the ones folks that do business from home, as it will have to do a nice activity of covering the messy residing rooms and misbehaving cats that so incessantly conspire to make house employees glance rather less than skilled.

Microsoft could also be integrating its translation era to beef up collaboration between multi-language groups (to be had now for paid customers, later within the yr for free ones). For paying customers handiest, the corporate has additionally added computerized recording and transcription of video calls.

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