A week before removal from the Store, Teams gains a free tier

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It's all a bit ironic really - Microsoft Teams is a decent cross-platform product and yet the decision was made a while ago not to continue compiling it for Windows 10 Mobile - as I write this, barring a change of heart from the company, it's just a week until Teams disappears from the Microsoft Store on phones and only three months until (in theory) Teams for W10M stops working completely. Yet it's now that Microsoft announces a free tier for the collaboration system, one that should see it really take off. 

Of course, Microsoft has already written off Windows 10 Mobile, at least in terms of future development, so none of this should be particular surprising. But it's galling to existing phone users who used and liked Teams.

From the Microsoft announcement post:

A free version of Teams, the collaboration tool used by hundreds of thousands of businesses across the world, has been released by Microsoft. The program, which brings together chat, meetings, calling, files and apps in a shared workspace, will be available in 40 languages for up to 300 people.

The free version of Teams, part of Microsoft 365, will feature:

  • Unlimited chat messages and search
  • Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups and full team meetups
  • 10 gigabytes (GB) of team file storage plus additional 2GB per person for personal storage
  • Integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote
  • Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from – including Adobe, Evernote and Trello
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organisation, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure

“This new offering provides a powerful introduction to Microsoft 365,” Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice-President for Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. “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. Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of a team inside a large organization, you can start using Teams today.”

To mark a year since the launch of Microsoft 365, Markezich also revealed that seats on the service have grown by more than 100%, building on the more than 135 million commercial monthly Office 365 users, 200 million Windows 10 commercial devices in use and over 65 million seats of Enterprise Mobility + Security.

The success of Teams (and Slack, its main competitor, whose own UWP application is now in its last months too) is all somewhat mystifying from our point of view. Skype, known to millions as a video chat tool, has always been a great business collaboration tool and we at the All About Team have been using it as a virtual office since 2006, seven years before Slack was even conceived. The mis-management of Skype, bought by Microsoft in 2011, over the last decade has been galling, to say the least. Skype could have been THE tool that brought businesses together across the world, but lack of development, mixed messages over its marketing, and a multiplicity of new versions with different interfaces, have all meant that it's now utterly sidelined. A crying shame.

Source / Credit: Microsoft