Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it is introducing the heavily-requested guest access feature to its Teams messaging platform. It has started to roll out a feature which lets you add anyone with a business or consumer email address as a guest in Microsoft Teams. Additionally, Microsoft is also reportedly getting ready to launch a new, freemium version of Teams. Currently, Teams is available just for Office 365 business users, but the launch of a freemium version of Teams will allow Microsoft to directly compete with Slack, which starts off free and offers tiered upgrades on a subscription basis.
The Redmond-based company had first launched the guest account support for Teams in September last year, but the company only allowed users with Azure AD accounts to be added to a team. Guest support access enables team members to add someone outside one's own organisation to a team. It is helpful when an organisation needs to include someone from outside the team, for instance, a freelancer, to participate in team meetings. Microsoft is essentially enabling support for any email account which means you can now add a guest with their Outlook, or even a Gmail account and they can get full access to team chats, meetings, and files.
In order to invite a guest to a team, you need to select Add Members in the menu next to the team name. Further, add the guest's email address. The guests will they get an email with information about the team. Notably, if the guest does not yet have a Microsoft Account associated with their email address, they will be directed to create one for free.
"Once they accept the invitation, guests can participate in chats, join meetings, collaborate on documents, and more. Teams with guests will be identified with text and icons throughout the Teams UI to give all team members a clear indication that there are guests in that team," says Microsoft, in a blog post. To note, guest access feature is available with all Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Enterprise, and Office 365 Education subscriptions.
Meanwhile, as per a Petri report, the latest developer preview of Microsoft Teams showed a number of references alluding to a "freemium" version of the app, with options to "upgrade to paid version." According to the report, one of the lines read as "Storage exceeded... Admin action to upgrade to paid version," which hints at storage tiers as one of the limiting features of the free model.
As we mentioned, the launch of such a freemium version for Teams would help Microsoft compete with collaboration app rival Slack, which offers both free and subscription-based services.