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Microsoft to Sunset Teams Free (Classic) in Favor of Paid Plans

Rabia Noureen

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft has recently announced that it’s retiring the free version of Microsoft Teams for businesses on April 12. The company recommends customers to switch to its Microsoft Teams premium plan to keep chats, documents, and other important information.

Microsoft launched the free version of its Teams collaboration service in 2018. It’s designed to meet the collaboration needs of groups and small businesses. However, Microsoft Teams free (classic) lacks support for some features, including recording or transcriptions, breakout rooms, webinars, and more.

With this change, Microsoft has provided two paid options to help customers preserve their channels, files, chats, teams, and permissions. The company suggests moving to Microsoft Teams Essentials for $4 per user/month. It’s a new standalone launched for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in December.

Microsoft Teams Essentials lets users hold meetings for up to 30 hours with up to 300 participants. Other features include 10GB of cloud storage per user, group chat templates, and support for calendar integration for Outlook and Google Calendar.

Alternatively, Microsoft notes that customers can choose to switch to Microsoft 365 Business Basic for $6 per user/month. The plan includes all features included in Microsoft Teams Essentials as well as meetings recordings with transcripts, support for Bookings, and 1TB of cloud storage per user. It also provides the web and mobile versions of Microsoft 365 productivity apps.

Microsoft Teams hits 280 million monthly active users

Microsoft says that those who want to stay on a free tier will need to manually migrate their data to Microsoft Teams (free). It comes with support for group meetings (max of 60 minutes), up to 100 participants, and 5 GB of cloud storage for each user. However, customers will need to create a new account to use the new Teams (free) tier. Microsoft notes that users will not be able to transfer meeting and call records.

Last month, Microsoft announced that its Teams collaboration platform now has 280 million monthly active users. The company clearly sees an opportunity to pick up small businesses and startups to boost the adoption of its Microsoft 365 apps and services. It should help Microsoft Teams to better compete with Slack, Zoom, Google Workspace, and other collaboration tools.

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