Microsoft Teams is a Slack-like chat, call and collaboration tool, and a relatively new addition to Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of Software as a Service applications. After rolling it out worldwide to users on the Business Premium subscription plan, Microsoft has now made it free for Office 365 users in the education segment in 181 countries and 19 languages.
The catch, however, is that Microsoft Teams will be disabled to begin with, and only IT admins will be able to turn the service on:
“Starting today, administrators can enable Microsoft Teams for their institutions through the Office 365 admin center. Although Teams is off by default, IT admins can easily configure access at the license level for Faculty & Teachers and/or Students.”
The rollout includes all Education tenants, which includes organizations currently on “Education, Education Plus and Education E5, as well as existing Education E3 customers who purchased E3 prior to its retirement.”
IT administrators can now turn on the service for the entire tenant, but Microsoft has added a note in the enable window warning that the ability to do this is temporary. Once removed, admins will need to manage access on a per-individual basis in the Office 365 Admin Center or using PowerShell. This suggests that Microsoft is allowing educational institutions to try Microsoft Teams across the organization for specific groups, like teachers, other staff, higher education students, etc.
Users can also download the Microsoft Teams app on iOS (9.0 and higher), Android (4.4 and higher) and Windows Phone 10.0.10586 and later. Microsoft is not making it available via a mobile web browser, just the app.
For desktop devices, only Edge (12 and higher), IE (11 and up), Firefox (47 and up) and Chrome (51 and up) are currently supported for the web client. Mac uses will need to download the desktop client for now, but web client support for the Safari browser is “coming at a later date.”
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