It appears Microsoft may be a little closer to launching a free version of Microsoft Teams as it seeks to challenge Slack in the workplace. References to a free tier first popped up in February within a developer preview of the communications app. Now, the free tier looks to be coming more into focus thanks to Microsoft's own documentation.
The references come by way an official end user notice and a subscription agreement spotted by Twitter user WalkingCat, who is known for digging up in-development projects from Microsoft. In both, Microsoft Teams (free) is mentioned, along with some details of what to expect.
From the end user notice:
Microsoft Teams (free) is intended for use by organizations, such as small businesses or groups of coworkers. If you were invited to join a group in Microsoft Teams (free), the group you are joining in the Microsoft Teams (free) instance will be considered your organization for the purposes of this notice, and the person administering the group will be considered the administrator of your account in Microsoft Teams (free).
Information in the developer preview found in February indicated that the free version would have some limitations compared to its paid counterpart. At the time, that included a dialog box that would prompt users to upgrade when they exceed a free storage limit. However, it's not hard to imagine we could also see restrictions on team sizes or sizes of shared files.
Currently, Microsoft Teams requires an Office 365 plan to use. But giving users a way to sample Teams with a free version could have the effect of helping to boost Microsoft's base of paid users by converting those who may not have been ready to jump right in.
There's no way of telling when Microsoft plans to unveil a potential free tier for Teams, but the official references indicate it could be close at hand.