MICROSOFT MADE a number of announcements yesterday regarding its existing software, both vintage and recent.
First of all, Microsoft Teams, the company's collaboration tool designed to rival the likes of Slack, is getting a free tier for the first time, having previously been limited to Office 365 users.
A stripped down free version is what got Slack to its market-leading position in the first place and it appears that Microsoft fancies a bit of that action.
The free tier offers up to 300 seats and most of the functionality, with a few predictable little nudges toward the paid version - which is fine and dandy - nothing is truly free these days.
Included are full audio and video calling for groups, unlimited app integrations (beating Slack's limit of ten), up to 10GB of file storage for the group and 2GB for each user.
You can even invite guests to join if you want to bring on a contractor, consultant or intern.
So what's missing? Well for a start you can't integrate fully with the rest of Microsoft Office - free users can only use the browser-based versions of the apps.
Teams Free is out today in 40 languages. Maybe you speak one of them? If not, let Microsoft know using smoke signals or semaphore. They love to hear what their users are telling them, apparently.
Also new is Whiteboard, Microsoft's digital app that replicates a… well… whiteboard. That's now been released from preview and is available for Windows 10, with mobile versions imminent as well as a web client for those on Windows Phone, probably.
It allows users to make their own whiteboard of notes and clippings, whilst collaborating with others, even remotely. It requires a Microsoft or Office 365 account and there's still some work to do at their end of sharing - but it's getting there.
Finally, Notepad, that app that has always been there when you've needed it but probably not all that often is getting an update for the first time in nearly two decades. Improved wrap around, find and replace, zoom, as well as line ending support for Linux and Mac.
That's a bit further out though - expect that one in Redstone 5. μ
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