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Microsoft will wipe free Teams business users' data if they don't upgrade to a paid tier

The new free app won't preserve legacy chats or meetings.
The Microsoft Teams logo is seen in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on 25 January, 2023. Several Microsoft services were unable to be reached by tens of thousands around the world on Wednesday accroding to Downdetector.The outage was caused, according to Microsoft by a network change. Services affected included Outlook, Teams and Xbox Live. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|February 7, 2023 1:05 PM

Now that Microsoft has launched its Teams Premium service, it's shaking up the free offering for work — and not everyone will be happy. The company is retiring the existing Teams Free version for small business in favor of the similarly-titled Teams (free) on April 12th, and legacy data won't carry over. Your office will have to pay for at least the Teams Essentials plan ($4 per user per month) to preserve chats, meetings, channels and other key info.

As Windows Central explains, the new Teams (free) tier will require a new account. Data in the old app, now rebadged as Teams Free (classic), will be deleted. Anything you haven't saved by then will be gone, including shared files you haven't downloaded.

We've asked Microsoft for comment. This won't affect personal use, but it could prove to be a headache for small firms that previously relied on the free Teams to coordinate. They'll either have to start paying or they'll lose access to past discussions, not to mention deal with the headache of recreating their channel setups. This won't necessarily lead customers to switch to alternatives like Slack, particularly if they're heavily invested in Microsoft's ecosystem. It might, however, prompt outfits to reevaluate their plans if they can't justify many paid services.

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Microsoft will wipe free Teams business users' data if they don't upgrade to a paid tier