Outlook.com Premium Is Now Available

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The premium ad-free version of Microsoft’s Outlook.com e-mail service that offers personal addresses that can be shared by five people is now generally available.

Outlook.com Premium, an interesting offering from Microsoft, will once again test the appetite among users to pay for personal e-mail services they’ve received for free for decades, if they ever paid for them at all. The new Outlook.com Premium service, which costs $49.99 per year, is available at a promotional rate of $19.95 until March 31.

As a last step in the preparing for the general availability of premium email service, Microsoft last week announced that the migration of the 400 million current Outlook.com mailboxes to the Office 365 infrastructure, which is powered by Microsoft Exchange, was 99.9 percent complete.

All of the major e-mail providers have long offered premium ad-free e-mail services and other perks including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. What could give the new Outlook.com Premium service added appeal is the ability to create or use existing personal e-mail addresses to an account. Furthermore, a user can allow four additional people to use the domain name of the e-mail address, allowing them to also share calendars, contacts and files. The service also lets customers either create any domain that’s available or tie to one they already have.

Customers who sign up for the promotional $19.95 rate will get use of the personal domain free for the first year. While they can renew for the same price, each personal domain costs an additional $10 per year. The personal domain automatically synchronizes Outlook.com mailboxes, along with hotmail.com, live.com and msn.com accounts into one mailbox.

Premium email services by other vendors like Google have taken off quite well. It remains to be seen how the market will take up Outlook.com premium, globally.

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