The rather niche segment for team collaboration and communication tools is set to get a big shake-up, as Microsoft Teams is adding a new free tier to its service. The service was launched in 2016 as an entirely paid service, and while there are enough takers for its premium offerings, the lack of a free tier has kept its growth slow. With the addition of a free plan on Microsoft Teams, the service now goes head-to-head with Slack, its biggest competitor in the space. Also Read - Zoom adds new features to enhance video and audioAlso Read - Microsoft Teams now allows 20,000 participants in meetings
Slack, which has been around since 2013, has been a pioneer in creating the idea of a team collaboration tool. The service, which works through mobile apps, desktop clients or an in-browser version, enables teams to communicate effectively for workplace collaboration and functioning. It’s popular in the corporate space, where working teams use it to handle workplace communications. Much of its popularity comes from the availability of a free tier, which allows smaller teams with budget constraints to use the service as well. Also Read - Microsoft Teams gets Together mode and other AI-based features
With the addition of a free tier, Microsoft Teams will be able to grow much more quickly and add many new users that have been off the platform due to the cost involved. While free users don’t bring any revenue to the service, it does allow users to try the app for as long as they need, albeit with less features. Eventually, many of these free-tier users could upgrade to paid plans, increasing revenue for the client. The strategy has worked well for Slack thus far, with free users upgrading for the added benefits of the paid plans.
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The free tier of Microsoft Teams will have some limitations, for which users can upgrade to paid tiers to overcome. Other collaborative tools include Facebook Workplace, Discord and Flock, which are targeting the quickly growing market for collaborative tools.