Microsoft is shutting down the Microsoft Teams Free Classic version on April 12, 2023. This is just over one month’s notice of the shut down, which is not a lot of time for most users to decide if they want to upgrade or not.
Microsoft sent out an email (see below for the full email), telling current users of the Microsoft Teams Free (classic) version that they need to upgrade to a paid version of Microsoft Teams. However, later on in the email, they go on to tell you that there is still going to be a free version of Microsoft Teams, and you need to access and download that version if you still want to use a free version of Microsoft Teams. They’re making you upgrade to another free version, even though the email is pitching the new paid version, making you believe that you need to upgrade or lose access. For most, they won’t read the full email, and I suspect that they won’t see that there is another free version that they must download and install.
The only reason I use the free classic version of Microsoft Teams is that I have a few clients that use Microsoft Teams, and one University in Texas that I volunteer at from time to time that uses Microsoft Teams. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be using Microsoft Teams (and wouldn’t generally pay for it).
Here is a copy of the email, which I think is confusing, and Microsoft is promoting the paid version:
“You’re receiving this notice because you use Microsoft Teams Free (classic).
Upgrade to a paid version of Microsoft Teams to keep access to your data
On April 12, 2023, Microsoft Teams Free (classic) will be retired. To sign in and access your chats, files, scheduled meetings, and other data after that date, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid version of Teams.
If you prefer to continue using a free version of Teams, you may sign up for the new free Teams option. None of your data will transfer, but you’ll be able to view and save the files that are in your current account to another location through April 12, 2023.
If you prefer to continue accessing your data in your account, there are several paid options to choose from. We recommend Microsoft Teams Essentials because it most closely matches the functionality you currently use. Your data will transfer automatically, and you’ll keep access to capabilities such as:
Unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours.
Up to 300 participants per meeting.
10 GB of cloud storage per user.
To continue using your Microsoft Teams account and maintain your data, review pricing and upgrade to Teams Essentials or another paid version of Teams by April 12, 2023.
Read complete details about your options, including signing up for the new free version of Teams.
The headline of the email is “Upgrade to a paid version of Microsoft Teams to keep access to your data“, making it sound as if you must upgrade to a paid version. But later they go on to say “If you prefer to continue using a free version of Teams, you may sign up for the new free Teams option.” And they emphasis that none of your previous data (such as settings and former meetings that you attended, etc.) is going to transfer. It’s as if you’re starting off with a fresh install of Microsoft Teams.
I suspect that Microsoft is probably going to get a lot of signups to their paid version of Microsoft Teams, if only because those users don’t understand that there is another free version of Microsoft Teams that they can install.
Of course Microsoft could just upgrade you to the newer version of Microsoft Teams if you’re a current user of the free classic version. But no, it sounds as if the Microsoft Teams Free (classic) version is going to be completely retired and you will have to install the new version or get the paid version.
Link to upgrade to new free version of Microsoft Teams: