4 new Microsoft 365 updates that could improve collaboration among your team

Microsoft introduces a free version of Teams, going head-to-head with Slack

Microsoft Teams is now available to use for free

Microsoft Teams, the communication and collaboration platform is getting a free version to compete against Slack. Users will be able to create servers that hold up to 300 people with unlimited chat messages and search.

The number of third-party app integrations allowed by Microsoft is much more that the number allowed by Slack in its free version.

The free tier offers up to 300 seats and most of the functionality, with a few predictable little nudges toward the paid version - which is fine and dandy - nothing is truly free these days.

Ever since its introduction, Microsoft's Teams-a collaboration tool for chatting, sharing documents, video, and voice calling-has had one major competitor: Slack.

1-to-1 and group online audio and video calls.

Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft's secure, global infrastructure. You only get 5 GB of storage, 10 integrations, no guest accounts, and videos are limited to 1-on-1 sessions.

Thus far, Microsoft has pushed Teams' extensive integration with the company's other products-Office, Skype, SharePoint-as its major distinguishing feature, but Slack has had one important capability that Teams has lacked.

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. Microsoft has managed to do a decent of attracting enterprise users to Teams, but it remains to be seen whether it will enjoy the same success with free users - who Microsoft will be hoping will upgrade to premium versions at some point in the future.

"What we've learnt from Teams in the first 16 months is that, firstly, it's fantastic in terms of a straight off-the-bat free service or additional value inside Office 365", Heard said.

Microsoft is also debuting a set of futuristic new meeting features first teased during its Build conference earlier this year. Whether you're a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of a team inside a large organization, you can start using Teams today.

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