Microsoft launched its competitor Slack, Microsoft Teams, just over a year ago. At the launch, the software giant only announced paid subscriptions for its chat service, with no free or freemium levels for companies to update. It seems that that is about to change, however. Petri reports that the latest trial versions of Microsoft equipment include multiple references to a freemium level, with options to "upgrade to the paid version."
It seems that Microsoft is testing this functionality, before implementing it publicly. It is not clear how the free Microsoft Teams level will work, but if it is similar to Slack, it will probably be limited to a certain number of people on a server until required features are required. Slack has had the benefit of reaching new startups, small businesses and other businesses that do not depend on Windows or Office, and its freemium model has helped it grow and thrive in the chat business. If Microsoft releases a free version of Teams, Slack will have even more reason to be nervous about the Microsoft service.
Subscriptions are increasingly important to Microsoft, as it continues to drive software and cloud-based services. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference on Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hinted that the growth of Office 365 could be better than the old days of the Windows client and server. "The growth opportunity for Office 365 is much greater than anything we have achieved, even with our high penetration in the client-server world," Nadella said.