The caveat about the new Microsoft Teams (free) version
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The caveat about the new Microsoft Teams (free) version

Microsoft is now pushing users of its former free Teams app for business to pay to keep their data accessible after it retires on April 12. This current free application called "Microsoft Teams Free (classic)" will be replaced by the new "Microsoft Teams (free). While the latter is still free, there will be no way to automatically transfer or migrate old user data to it, pushing companies to do it manually or resort to the paid Teams Essentials tier.

Microsoft's decision to continually introduce different product versions can be incredibly confusing, just like in this recent case of Teams. According to Microsoft, it will soon be retiring its old free Teams app for business named “Microsoft Teams Free (classic). It will then be replaced by a newer one called Microsoft Teams (Free) which users will also be able to use for free. Still, the slight name change shouldn't be Microsoft Teams Free (classic)'s biggest concern now. As Microsoft explains on its announcement pageLegacy app users must upgrade to the paid Teams Essential plan to retain access to their data.

"Designed specifically for small and medium businesses, Teams Essentials is the latest version of Teams, which you can purchase separately from Microsoft 365 plans," Microsoft says in its FAQ. “After April 12, 2023, Microsoft will no longer support Teams Free (classic). By upgrading to Teams Essentials on this date, you will retain access to your data.

Companies that still want to use Teams for free can sign up for the new free version of Teams. However, Microsoft points out that "data will not be retained (including data from existing channels, chats, and recurring meetings)". This means a huge inconvenience, especially for companies that have huge amounts of data on the version they thought would be accessible for more years, if not forever.

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