Microsoft’s Slack competitor might get a free version soon

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft launched its Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams, just over a year ago. At launch, the software giant only unveiled paid subscriptions for its chat service, with no free or freemium tiers for businesses to upgrade from. It looks like that’s about to change, though. Petri reports that the latest test versions of Microsoft Teams include multiple references to a freemium tier, with options to “upgrade to paid version.”

It appears that Microsoft is testing this functionality out, before rolling it out publicly. It’s not clear how the free tier of Microsoft Teams will work, but if it’s similar to Slack then it will probably be limited to a certain number of people on a server until paid features are required. Slack has had the benefit of reaching emerging startups, small businesses, and other businesses that don’t rely on Windows or Office, and its freemium model has helped it grow and thrive in the chat business. If Microsoft does launch a free version of Teams then Slack will have even more reason to be nervous of Microsoft’s service.

Subscriptions are becoming increasingly important to Microsoft as it continues to push cloud-based software and services. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference on Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hinted that Office 365 growth could be better than the old days of Windows client and server. “The growth opportunity for what is Office 365 is a lot bigger than anything we’ve achieved, even with our high penetration in the client-server world” said Nadella.


A free tear would also solve the problem of organisations that rely on Teams for their communication to invite third parties into their channels without having to pay for a full office suite, just to chat with someone.

I find it hard to understand why Microsoft built a new product when they could just extend Skype? If they would have wrap Microsoft Team features into Skype as team extension it would have been fantastic product. But yeah, it also should be free for small teams like Slack.

Skype has an existing brand and baggage. It’s better to create a new product, than to bend old ones to new forms and then try to make people understand what it does now.

@BlackToe is correct, often the biggest factor in success in high growth mode is distilling to the essence so the market knows what this thing is, you can have a great option but if it’s encumbered in the mindshare game you lose. Skype already had too much baggage, commercially but also technically, and is almost a failure when compared to other similar services like WhatsApp. You don’t want to hang that around the neck of a new offering if you seriously want to win, although Microsoft does things like that often enough, and they usually lose. Good for them this time.

Microsoft Teams is built by the Skype team on top of Skype technology. It’s my understanding that Teams will replace Skype for Business (formally Lync) at some point.

It makes sense though in my head not to bloat the consumer version of Skype with a bunch of enterprise chat, channel and collaboration features that the general consumer doesn’t need

Don’t know if it’s warranted but I’d rather have my companies communication with Slack than with spying Microsoft.

Don’t believe the H Y P E

Wow, that’s some next level FUD. Microsoft is famous for the security and privacy of its enterprise communication services – did you miss the article about how Microsoft is going to the supreme court against the US government to protect customers’ privacy?

you do know slack has access to all the data right? and can hand it over to authorities the same as any US company?

Microsoft at least offers data centre selection so for a corp in EUR the data stays in EUR.

slack (as big as they are) still dont "get" real global enterprise needs -especially regarding data residency, data transfer across borders, etc.

We use this at work everyday. Trust me, slack has nothing to worry about. Teams is not fully baked, continually crashes, has weird random bugs and the UI is not well thought out. It’s just simply trying to be to much at once. If they can get it smoothed out, then it will be a great competitor.

But Teams is not good… We use it at work and everyone dislikes it…

FUD alert. Virtually all unbiased reviews of Teams are positive, rated same or better than Slack.

Probably depends on preference, but also if they’ve used another ChatOps tool before. I’ve had to use Hip chat, Slack, Mattermost, and Teams all in the last 2 years for work. Teams is by far the worst and least mature if the tools. That didn’t mean it’s horrible, it’s a far step up above Skype for business.

That said, for organizations that are out purely MS centric, there are issues. The Mac version doesn’t always notify when messages come in, the separation of individual chat from group chat is annoying (have to switch contexts just to see where an unread message is). And code blocks are overly complicated to add when compared to slack.

Teams is a tool targeting business users but trying to sell itself as a ChatOps tool, which tends to be more focused on technical teams.

But this is all just my experience

I hope this is true because for a couple scenarios in my department, Teams would be really helpful. And yet since my company uses on-premises Exchange and Lync instead of Office 365, I can’t use it currently.

Slack of course is another option too, but hey, the more options the better.

I think the real question is if Microsoft can get Teams to the point that is good enough that it is on par with Slack. Slack monthly cost per user is very high (we pay more for slack I believe than all of office), and if Microsoft can bundles it with office 365 for a small amount more, it’s going to be hard to justify continuing to pay a separate line item for Slack. That’s got to be a scary thought for Slack.

Microsoft has to be thinking of bundling it.
It’s the logical next step. And all those Office 365 Users would have instant access.

Yup. Where I work only tech uses slack because the other business units don’t want the line item for their employees. If everyone in non tech starts using teams, I really don’t see anything about Slack that would make it sticky for tech as I think Microsoft has most major integrations

Same here. I work in the Restaurant Industry. All the Restaurants are using Teams and Skype. Only the Tech companies we Cater to are using Slack.
Slack shouldn’t be worried. But they’ll never Dominate in Enterprise.

Wrong reply

I created this account just to warn everybody. DO. NOT. USE. Teams.

It’s the worst piece of software I’ve ever used, it’s a continuous pain and the huge amount of lacking features is shocking.

DO. NOT. USE. Teams.

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