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The classic version of Teams will no longer be available after April 12th.
Small enterprises face limitations in transferring their chats and information from the original free version of Teams to the updated free version, leading them to either switch to a paid Teams subscription or manually save their data.
Microsoft is retiring its older free version of Teams, referred to as "classic," and small businesses and users will be required to pay to maintain access to their chats and data, as reported by Windows Central through Engadget.
On April 12th, 2023, Microsoft Teams Free (classic) will no longer be available, and there will not be a direct way to migrate to the newer free version of Microsoft Teams. These changes follow the recent introduction of a premium tier of Teams that boasts features such as automatically generated meeting notes and integration with OpenAI.
As the economic climate changes, many organizations are considering reducing or cutting back on paid services. For businesses heavily reliant on Microsoft Teams, it might be worth paying for it. However, others may choose to switch to free alternatives from rival services, or make use of the built-in features of existing packages they're paying for, such as Slack, Zoom with Team Chat and Mail & Calendar, or Google Workspace.
Microsoft is advising free-tier users to upgrade to the least expensive Teams Essentials subscription, which costs $4 per user per month. The upgrade would preserve meetings, files, chats, and channels, and provide access to additional features such as longer meetings with more participants, increased storage space, and Microsoft 365 (Office) apps if selected. Alternatively, organizations could opt for a new free Teams setup, but this would mean starting from scratch.
Organizations can determine if they have a classic account by checking for the "Microsoft Teams Free (classic)" badge in the Teams desktop app after clicking on the profile photo icon. According to the Teams classic retirement FAQs, accounts created prior to December 31st, 2021 may be affected and need to take action.
For organizations using the free classic Teams, it's advisable to backup all files before April 12th, regardless of whether they choose to start paying Microsoft or not. If they do decide to upgrade, it's important to note that the new account cannot be merged with an existing one, cannot be reverted to classic Teams, and each user account within the organization must switch to a paid subscription.
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