Microsoft is testing Outlook.com Premium, an improved ad-free version of the widely used email platform that can currently be availed via invitation.
The company has set the initial price point of the new service at $3.99 per month, but considering that it's still at an early stage, that could change in the foreseeable future. To make it more appealing, it's also putting the program up free of charge for the whole first year.
In the case of Office 365 subscribers, they'll be able to get their hands on it at no cost at all.
As for what exactly Outlook.com Premium brings to the table, it provides five personalized email addresses, more manageable calendar sharing and an inbox free of ads.
For the record, Microsoft already has a relatively cheaper ad-free version of Outlook.com that's priced at $19.95 per year, but it doesn't come with the extra aforementioned features. To put things into perspective, the Outlook.com Premium subscription works out to about $48 annually.
GoDaddy is reportedly handling the domain department of the service.
Thurott first spotted the news, pointing out that it seems like this is Microsoft's effort to monetize Outlook.com aside from using advertisements. It also continues to note that it's unclear whether or not the company will add in more features or when it's going to kick off from the pilot stage at this point. It's not even sure whether it will continue the service when people leave negative feedback.
Long story short, this is good news for Office 365 subscribers. On that note, it's by no means a terrible development for anyone else, as it's a new option to avail an independent Outlook.com without ads.
In the same vein, Microsoft carried out improvements across the Outlook.com board back in February, ranging from a smarter address book and search suggestions to Skype integration refiners.