This free version of Microsoft Teams is disappearing forever soon

Microsoft Teams
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is retiring the free version of its video conferencing app and introducing a new free app, but you won’t be able to transfer your data over unless you upgrade to a paid plan.

The company has confirmed that from April 12 2023, ‘Microsoft Teams Free (classic)’ will no longer be available, suggesting that users instead upgrade to ‘Teams Essentials’ for $4/£3 per user per month.

In its place, customers will be confusingly able to sign up for the legacy free app’s replacement, ‘Teams (free)’.

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Microsoft Teams free

In order to maintain access to your chats, files, and meetings, Microsoft suggests paying for one of its Teams plans, which completely defeats the purpose of offering its customers a free option. 

With a paid plan, of course, comes other tools like cloud storage and the Office suite, but many small businesses may already be using free office software in order to keep their monthly spending under control.

If you’re adamant that you want to remain on a free plan, it’s possible to manually transfer files from the legacy version to its replacement, however there doesn’t seem to be a way to transfer meeting and call data if this is important.

To make matters worse, Microsoft explains on its announcement page that from April 12, data belonging to the retired free app will be deleted and lost.

TechRadar Pro asked Microsoft about its decision. A company spokesperson explained to us:

"Microsoft is making this change to invest in a single free experience across personal and small business. Teams Free (classic) was built on AAD, and the new Teams (free) is built on MSA. For over a year, Microsoft has only allowed new customers to sign up for the new Teams (free)."

They also confirmed that users will not be able to upgrade from the legacy free plan to a paid plan, like Essentials and Business, and then downgrade again to the new free offering.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!