Microsoft Teams Free (Classic) will no longer be available after Apr 12th, 2023

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Microsoft gave a hint some time ago that the “classic” version of Teams will be retired and replaced with the new version of Teams. The retirement date for the classic version of Teams was not announced back then until now. Many users have started getting the following notice in on their Teams app that reads.

Microsoft Teams Free (Classic) will no longer be available after Apr 12th, 2023

The above notice is being shown to admins who established Teams for their small organizations.

In this post. I will try to explain what this news means for Teams Classic users and what are the potential decent alternatives they can consider.

What options Teams Classic Users Have?

Well technically, thy can use the Teams Personal for free still. But if they migrate to Teams personal then they will lose the following data:

  • Chats (including chat with bots)
  • Files
  • Shared Links
  • Meetings (notes, polls, etc.)

To prevent any data loss, they can consider migrating to the paid Microsoft 365 Business Basic or Microsoft Teams Essentials. Or there is a 3rd option as well, which is switching to Microsoft Teams Free.

See more about these options in details.

1. Microsoft Teams Essentials ($4 per user/month).

Teams Essentials is a simple and affordable version of Teams by Microsoft to let users of Teams Classic upgrade. This is Microsoft Teams only plan and you will not get access to other tools from Microsoft.

With this, you will get these benefits in Teams:

  • Unlimited group and team meetings up to 30 hours long.
  • You will be able to add up to 300 participants per meeting.
  • Each user in your team will get 10 GB of cloud storage.

2. Microsoft 365 Business Basic ($6.00 user/month):

If you choose Office 365 subscription, then you will get the benefit of other Microsoft Tools and Software. See what’s included in Office 365:

  • Productive apps, Office Suite: Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
  • Team meetings recordings with automatic transcripts.
  • Bookings, to manage customer appointments.
  • 1 TB of cloud storage per user.
  • 50 GB mailbox and custom email domain address.
  • Hub for teamwork.
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • 24×7 customer support

So basically, you will get a full functional workspace just like Google Workspace. You have emails and of course you will get to keep your files and the chats.

Do note that, $6.00 user/month will be charged annually. If you decide to go for monthly payment mode, then the same will cost you $7.20 user/month.

3. Microsoft Teams Free (no cost):

There will always be a free Microsoft Teams version. After the April 203, it will be called Microsoft Teams Free. However, data from your current account (Teams Classic) will not be transferred to your new Teams account. Unless you manage to get your backup of your data through some 3rd part app or manually, you will not be able to get it.

The free version of Teams will have the following limited features.

  • Unlimited meetings with your teammates for up to 60 minutes.
  • You will be able to add up to 100 participants per meeting.
  • Each user in your team will get 5 GB of cloud storage.

If you use Teams frequently and your current data is not that important then MS Teams Free will be a good option for you. You will still have almost all the features; except they will be limited.

Top Alternatives to Microsoft Teams to Consider Migrating in 2023:

  1. Slack: Slack existed way before MS Teams and you can still consider it after Microsoft shuts down Teams classic. Here you will get public and private channels, 3rd party apps, collaboration, and productivity features.
  2. Discord: Everyone knows about Discord. If you decide to migrate to Discord then you get to try new features of the platform. It has chats, channels, video calls, and more.
  3. DingTalk: This is a Teams alternative by Alibaba. It is completely free and a very good option for small teams and schools.
  4. Mattermost: It is an open-source platform for communication, collaboration, and workflow management for individuals and teams.
  5. JioMeet: This is a one good solution if you just looking a tool for video conferencing. We have covered about it in details here.

Closing:

I am fairly certain that a lot of people are going to be worried and even riled up about this decision of Microsoft. But since they have officially announced it already then, it’s inventible that they will change their mind. A lot of schools and small businesses will lose a lot of important data, if they don’t upgrade. I have no hopes from Microsoft to be generous about it, but I do hope they release a tool or service to backup current Classic Teams account data before retiring it.

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