The free version of Microsoft Teams for small businesses will end in mid-April 2023. Existing users must either pay or switch to the consumer version to continue benefiting from the powerful collaboration tool.

At least since the pandemic, Microsoft Teams has been a fixture in offices, schools and universities. Chats, video conferencing and the integration of other tools make the collaboration solution so valuable.

But now it has been announced that the free version for small and medium-sized companies will soon no longer be available. From April 12, 2023, Microsoft Teams will no longer be available for free (classic), existing licenses will expire.

Microsoft suggests that existing users switch to a paid version of Teams. If you want to continue using Teams for free, you have to make functional compromises and start from scratch. Existing data cannot be migrated automatically.

Microsoft sees teams as an important strategic pillar for different user groups: On the one hand, there are the various paid subscriptions from teams for companies and educational institutions. The various expansion stages currently cost EUR 3.40 to EUR 10.50 per user and month.

On the other hand, there is still a free version for personal users, marketed as Microsoft Teams (free) without the suffix “classic”. Windows 11 users even have a corresponding version pre-installed under the name “Chat”. The free version is functionally limited, for example meetings can last a maximum of one hour and you cannot create different teams or use channels.

Between the payment options and the limited Teams version for private users, Microsoft Teams was previously free (classic). Small and medium-sized companies, clubs or even ambitious private users could use teams without any costs. The core functions:

If you are using the Classic Free Version and want to switch to a paid plan from Teams, you can do so. It starts with Teams Essentials for 3.40 euros per user and month. Advantage: You even get a few more functions and can take all the data with you. Microsoft gives corresponding update tips.

Things are far less rosy if you want to continue traveling for free. It then remains the private user version. You also need a private Microsoft account for them, so existing data cannot be taken with you automatically. Users must initiate the export and import data themselves. But since there are fewer functions, not everything can be taken with you.

Either way, a solution is needed by April 12, 2023, as Microsoft notes: “After this date, you will no longer have access to Teams free (classic) and your data will be deleted. “

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