Microsoft’s weird and confusing free Teams move

  • Microsoft Teams Free (classic) is being retired on 12th April 2023.
  • In it’s place Microsoft Teams (free) will become the free tier for users.
  • Unfortunately no data will transfer automatically and users will have to download and transfer their data manually.

While it may have announced some interesting ChatGPT-related product updates yesterday, we need to discuss a confusing situation as regards Teams highlighted by The Register.

At the moment there is a free version of the communication app known as Microsoft Teams Free (classic). This product is being retired on 12th April 2023 and users will need to switch to Microsoft Teams (free). However, if a user switches from Microsoft Teams Free (classic) to Microsoft Teams (free), they will have to manually save and transfer the data associated with that account as Microsoft won’t move it.

The easiest way to make sure your data goes with you on 12th April however, is by upgrading to Microsoft Teams Essentials or Microsoft 365 Business Basic. These carry a fee of R71.10 per user per month and R106.70 per user per month respectively.

Paying that R71.10 per user per month does grant access to a number of noteworthy features including:

  • Unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours
  • Up to 300 participants per meeting
  • 10 GB of cloud storage per user
  • Anytime phone and web support

Those using Teams Free (classic) will also have to manually sign-up for an account on Teams (free) again.

While we understand that Microsoft doesn’t want to plough resources into a free version of its app, the fact that it’s not willing to simply move data from one free account to another feels like the least it could offer those users.

As such, it may be best to simply buckle down and make the move from Teams Free (classic) to Teams (free) sooner rather than later. Come 12th April the data associated with the (classic) version will no longer be accessible.

Of course you could avoid that by simply, paying Microsoft but we understand that isn’t an option for everybody.

Last week, Microsoft announced that Teams Premium would be available to all “in February”. This upgrade introduces new tech including OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 language model to help make meetings more intelligent. This includes generating meeting notes, marking important points in meetings and more.

We are curious as to how valuable Teams is to companies since many businesses have returned to offices. Darling of lockdown meetings, Zoom just announced a spate of lay-offs citing a failure to grow sustainably both during and post-pandemic.

Microsoft at least think Teams still has some staying power but how many businesses will pay up for features they may not need nor want, will be interesting to learn.


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