Microsoft Office Outlook Live Gives Outlook-Hotmail Combination
Microsoft is feeling the pinch of Googleâ€™s Webmail service GMail. We saw it from the way MSN Hotmail was upgraded from a puny two Megs to 250 Megs and the way Microsoft is now promoting Hotmail with their flagship mailing application MS Outlook. Googleâ€™s GMail has an excellent webmail interface with capabilities and speeds, which puts many offline applications to shame.
The latest news in from Microsoft is that they would now be offering a subscription service, which would tightly bring together MSN Hotmail and MS Outlook. These two products will be integrated with each other for customers looking for a combined subscription based module. This new offering has been labeled â€˜Microsoft Office Outlook Liveâ€™ and comes for USD 59.95 for a year.
The interesting part of this deal is that users do not need to own MS Outlook for this package. Microsoft is offering the excellent PIM software on subscription bases. The package includes Office Outlook 2003 along with 2 GB of online storage combined with features like spam and virus protection. Users will also be able to send mails as big as 20megs through this deal.
Outlook will hence function as a front-end of MSN Hotmail and users would be able to use it for not only mail purposes but also the calendar and contact manager. These changes will be synchronized with the online servers so that users can get access to their mail through the webmail interface from anywhere.
Microsoft for the time being is offering this deal only in U.S., the U.K., and Canada. If it turns out to be successful, other countries might also get the offering. The big advantage with Microsoft compared to its competition in Yahoo! and Google is that Outlook is a well-recognized application with which a lot of potential users are already accustomed to. However, when free webmail is offering as much as Microsoft is charging you forâ€¦ They just might find it hard to sell it to non-corporate users.
As long as Google keeps POP on GMail free, I find little usage for this paid module considering many excellent free mail clients are available online like Mozilla Thunderbird. With Chandler in the making, Microsoft has more headaches in the pipeline.
Sushubh Mittal is the Search Engine Journal Technical Columnist, GMail and Web Based Email Enthusiast, and Editor of TechWhack – a Whacked Tech and Web Blog