Microsoft Teams change means free users can't transfer data to new free option

Microsoft Teams change means free users can’t transfer data to new free option

Microsoft Corp.’s Teams enterprise communications platform. To grew up fast over the past few years, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a new change in service will be unwelcome to some customers.

Microsoft announced yesterday that it was retiring Teams Free (classic) on April 12 and recommending users upgrade to a paid version of Teams to continue accessing their chats, Teams files, and meeting data. That in itself might be a somewhat controversial move, but the sequel is arguably worse: Microsoft is also releasing a new version called Microsoft Teams (free) but users can’t transfer their existing data from Teams Free (classic) to Teams ( free). ).

Noting that the naming nomenclature is somewhat odd on its own, Windows Central reported that the only way to move chat, files, teams, and meetings created in Teams Free (classic) is to upgrade to either the Teams Essential plan, which costs $4 per user per month, or a Microsoft 365 Business plan Basic which costs $6 per user per month.

Businesses that don’t want to pay or can’t afford to upgrade can sign up for the new (free) Microsoft Teams, but there’s no way to import their existing data from from Team Free (classic) unless they manually back up files, then save them to Teams (free).

The requirement to upgrade to a paid version of Teams to retain company data comes as many institutions cut costs and staff due to the broader macroeconomic situation. While some companies will no doubt upgrade to the paid version and Microsoft is likely counting on that, not all companies will have the luxury of being able to afford it.

The inability to transfer data also raises questions about data ownership and siled data.

“A walled garden holding your data for ransom – is anyone really surprised?” Matthew Hodgson, the co-founder of the open source project Matrix and managing director of the secure communications provider Element, told SiliconANGLE. “It’s the age-old problem with using proprietary centralized platforms like Teams; you’re beholden to the seller. All your eggs are in one basket and now the basket has changed its terms and conditions.”

Hodgson suggests Microsoft’s actions could be a classic case of bait and switch, saying that “rushed to respond to the pandemic, companies were lured into a free – bundled – product now rebranded as Teams Free (classic). It is indeed a classic. The old classic of “make it free, lock them up, then charge them to keep their data” that the monopolies keep repeating.

Picture: Microsoft

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