Tech

Microsoft reassures Teams freebie fans: We’re not going to delete all your data, honest

Microsoft has had its very own Who, Me? moment after being forced to apologise for a bug that spammed administrators of Teams Free organisations to suggest they should upgrade to avoid imminent deletion of data.

The oopsie actually occurred in April (although a full explanation was not shared until last night) and resulted in users of the company’s freebie version of Teams receiving an email warning that their trial was coming to an end. If a new subscription was not swiftly acquired then users would lose access to their data after around 30 days. Administrators would subsequently have 90 days to upgrade or face permanent deletion.

Understandably, customers were left a little baffled. After all, Teams has a Free tier and a bunch of Frequently Asked Questions includes hits such as “Is Microsoft Teams really free?” (answer: “Yes!”) and “Will my account my expire?” (answer: “No, your account will not expire.”)

Users found similar warnings in Microsoft’s administration portal and reported worrying rumblings from official support orifices that Teams Free was merely a test version and would expire.

Not so! Sam Cosby, a “Customer Experience & Obsession Product Manager” for Teams at Microsoft, waded into the fray last night to admit that an attempt to clear up unused Teams Free accounts that had sat dormant for 90 days (plus a 30-day grace period) did not go entirely to plan.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “there was a bug that sent out notification emails to Teams Free Admins even if their organization was in use during the past 90 days.”

In responses to worried users, Crosby admitted the bug was on the licensing side. Those concerned about end dates would get an automatic extension “and won’t have to worry about any data loss.”

Far be it from us to highlight some decidedly dubious quality control and communication practices at work within the halls of Redmond, but the incident is a reminder for anyone surfing Microsoft’s wave of freebies that the Windows giant can taketh away as easily as it giveth.

All it takes is a typo and a tester more interested in a Solitaire high score. ®


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