Microsoft matches Slack with a free model of its Groups chat app

Microsoft is introducing a free model of Microsoft Groups in the present day, the corporate’s Slack competitor. Microsoft Groups initially launched again in November 2016 with no free or freemium tiers for companies to improve from. Whereas 200,000 companies now use Microsoft Groups, a scarcity of a free model made it tough for small companies and freelancers to make use of Microsoft Groups because it was restricted to an Workplace 365 subscription. That’s all altering in the present day with the launch of a free model of Microsoft Groups, and it’s now even larger competitors to Slack.

The free model of Groups will embody help for as much as 300 folks, with limitless chat messages and search. Microsoft is together with many of the Groups options you’d anticipate, with some limits to push folks in the direction of an Workplace 365 subscription. The free model contains built-in audio and video calling for teams, and even limitless app integrations for including apps like Trello to Microsoft Groups. Microsoft is even enabling visitor entry so anybody can be a part of a free Microsoft Groups server. Microsoft can also be limiting staff file storage to 10GB, with 2GB of private storage for every member.

Slack’s free model is proscribed to 10,000 searchable messages, 10 app integrations, 5GB of file storage, no visitor accounts, and only one:1 video chats. Comparatively, the free model of Microsoft Groups appears to be like rather a lot much less restrictions than Slack’s free equal, so long as you persist with 300 folks or much less.

Slack could have extra causes to concern Microsoft now

Microsoft is conserving its key Microsoft Groups integration of full desktop variations of Workplace apps like Phrase and Excel restricted to its paid Workplace 365 subscriptions. The free model of Microsoft Groups will embody the net variations of these apps from Workplace On-line.

Microsoft’s Workplace On-line apps aren’t as highly effective as the corporate’s desktop variations, however they’ve progressively improved to really compete in opposition to Google’s G Suite competitors. Improved real-time collaboration help has helped, and Microsoft is even rebuilding the net variations to make them run quicker and updating them with a Fluent Design overhaul.

Microsoft Groups’ free model might be accessible in the present day in 40 totally different languages, and for those who hit any of the bounds then you possibly can improve to an Workplace 365 subscription which begins at $5 per person per 30 days. Microsoft has additionally been tweaking its Groups software program to incorporate background blur for video calls, cloud recordings of conferences, and inline message translation for staff members who communicate totally different languages.

This new free model of Groups will actually put even additional stress on Slack, which confirmed it was nervous of Microsoft with a full-page newspaper advert. Slack has benefited from reaching rising startups, small companies, and different companies that don’t depend on Home windows or Workplace. Microsoft’s new free tier of Groups may enchantment to those smaller companies and compete with Slack on this essential a part of the market.

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