Microsoft has launched a free version of workplace collaboration software Teams to compete against rival Slack Technologies, Reuters reported.
Previously, businesses without Office 365 subscriptions that have wanted to try out Teams have been limited to a month-long trial. The free version of the product is intended to make it easy for potential customers to start using Microsoft’s products and become embedded in them.
“We naturally want customers who are using the free version to upgrade to the full Office 365 version,” Lori Wright, general manager of Microsoft 365 Teamwork, told Reuters in a June 28 interview.
Microsoft has been competing with Slack since introducing Teams in early 2017. The product is used by 200,000 organizations, the company said in March. Slack in May said that Slack is used by 70,000 paying organizations.
Slack, Microsoft and companies including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Cisco Systems, Facebook and Atlassian Corp have launched products in the fast-growing workplace collaboration market.
The size of the workplace collaboration software market is forecast to be worth $3.2 billion by 2021, according to research firm IDC.
Slack on Tuesday announced improvements to its chat app’s search features to assist users to find messages easily. Slack will offer the improved search features to all versions of Slack in the coming weeks, the company said.
Microsoft said the free version of Teams will not offer the same functionality as the Office 365 version. The free version of Teams will include some features not offered in the free versions of Slack that could attract customers, including unlimited search and unlimited app integrations.