Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Microsoft Makes Its Slack Competitor, Teams, Available for Free

Enlarge  Microsoft Teams on different Enlarge Microsoft Teams on different
Sandy Mccarthy | 13 July, 2018, 01:26

In other workplace collaboration news, Microsoft announced that Office 365 users will be able to run live and on-demand events through Yammer.

The company says more than 200,000 organizations use Microsoft Teams, which launched last spring. Teams is part of Office 365 and the broader Microsoft 365 - which combines Office, Windows 10 and the Enterprise Mobility and Security solution - and getting organizations hooked on the productivity tool could compel them to dive deeper into Microsoft world.

Ahead of the Teams announcement, Slack on Tuesday announced improvements to its own chat app's search features that the startup said will make it easier for users to find messages. In materials describing the free version of Teams, Microsoft included comparisons with Slack for the number of languages the programs are available in, storage space, message search and more. Free Teams supports group voice and video calling, too; Slack's free tier is restricted to 1:1 video calls. And of course, it'll tie into all of the Office 365 online apps, like Word, Powerpoint, Excel and OneNote.

Microsoft is also integrating its translation technology to improve collaboration between multi-language teams (available now for paid users, later in the year for free ones).

Sonos AirPlay 2: How to get started and what to expect
However, you can also manually check for the update if it's not showing up yet, by heading into the settings page in the app. Apple HomePod was the first speaker to support Airplay 2 but Sonos is the first partner to roll out the required update .

Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft's secure, global infrastructure. Office 365 will use facial detection to automatically detect when particular people are talking, allowing you to jump straight to their portions of the event.

These new Live event capabilities will be available in preview in the coming weeks and it will hit general availability later this year. There are also close captions to make sure the feature is accessible to all.

Those are all neat, but I'd argue the free version covers the basics well enough for most teams. Microsoft has a long way to go to build up the sort of clout Slack has, and it's still missing important features like private channels, but a free tier is a big step in the right direction. This free version is pretty great value overall, but Microsoft still hopes to get some users on board with the paid version eventually.

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