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Microsoft Launching Free 1-Year Trials for Teams in June

Starting June 1, Microsoft will allow end users -- Office 365 subscribers and non-subscribers alike -- to initiate a free one-year trial of Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft announced the trial offer last week with little fanfare. All organizations using Office 365 services will have the capability to initiate a free trial turned on by default, with exceptions for government and education Office 365 tenancies and Office 365 Germany.

If an organization doesn't want its end users initiating Teams trials, administrators will have to disable a setting within the Office 365 Admin Center.

The free trial is called "the IW trial offer for Microsoft Teams," and it's described in this Microsoft document, which outlines how IT pros can disable the ability of end users to trigger them. IT pros basically turn off a new setting called "Let users install trial apps and services."

Microsoft's notification surfaced on May 2 from within the Message Center in the Office 365 Admin Center, which is typically used by IT pros for managing Office 365 subscriptions. However, the free trials could pose big issues for organizations that keep a firm lock on what their end users can do. Given that circumstance, plus the fact that any end user will be able to start using Teams on June 1, the lack of an advance public announcement from Microsoft is perhaps surprising.

TechNet contributor Cian Allner, who runs the @Office365Ninjas Twitter feed, publicized Microsoft's notice in this Microsoft Tech Community post. Allner described Microsoft's push-down offering of Teams as being "somewhat strange" and not necessary. "I suppose the possible downside is it could promote unchecked use of Teams before everything is in-place like governance etc.," Allner added.

Microsoft's full Message Center notice of the coming free Teams trials was republished by Andrew Morpeth, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional on Lync and a consultant with New Zealand-based Lexel Systems, in this blog post.

The Message Center notice suggested that Teams might not be the only free trial that Microsoft may permit end users to turn on themselves. Other trials could get pushed down in the future.

"Currently, the Microsoft Teams trial is the only trial in this category, but this might apply to other similar programs in the future," the Message Center notice explained regarding the "Let users install trial apps and services" setting.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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