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Microsoft’s recent launch of its Teams Premium service has caused a stir in the world of work as the company announces its plan to retire the existing Teams Free version for small businesses. The new Teams (free) tier will be introduced on April 12th and will require a new account.

Small businesses that previously relied on the free Teams for coordination will either have to start paying for the Teams Essentials plan, which is priced at $4 per user per month, or lose access to their past discussions, channel setups, and other key information.

The legacy data won’t carry over, and any data in the old app, now rebranded as Teams Free (classic), will be deleted.

While the change won’t affect personal use, it could be a headache for small firms

It’s unlikely to drive customers away from Teams and towards alternatives such as Slack, especially if they’re heavily invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem. Still, it might prompt some outfits to reevaluate their plans if they can’t justify paying for many services.

On the bright side, Microsoft is more optimistic than ever about its search engine Bing, which is getting a major upgrade with the integration of OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT.

According to an internal report prepared by Sprinklr, Microsoft’s close relationship with OpenAI has received positive online sentiment. Microsoft is expected to integrate the startup’s technology into its other products, such as the Office suite of software.