Microsoft's Outlook.com Premium just went live this week and based on the available information so far, it will cost $50 in annual subscription. That is a steep price for consumers to pay especially if Microsoft is attempting to take on the free Gmail platform.
In order to sweeten the deal, the tech company is throwing in what it calls as Premium features such as the removal of ads and the support for custom email. It is also offering the service for an introductory price of $20.
Interested subscribers should also expect to easily share calendars, contacts and documents with ease, possibly along with related features recently implemented across the platform. The sharing feature is triggered automatically in the five domains under one user account.
Disabling ads, considered a must for any paid service, has understandably faded in the background, generating a mere smidgen of press coverage. Instead, the tech world has pounced on the personalized email addresses, a service that is more complex than it appears. In the Outlook premium service, a subscriber is entitled to up to five personalized email addresses.
So, a custom email address will eliminate the @outlook.com part. This means that a user has to think of a unique domain if he or she does not currently own one. Microsoft will determine if the domain name is available and will promptly foot the bill for its registration.
You read it right: the domain has to be registered and paid for. Once the one-year domain subscription that Microsoft bought expires, the user will have to renew it annually on his own.
To make things easier, Microsoft has partnered with hosting and domain provider GoDaddy for this service. If a user registers a domain at Outlook.com, it will be processed by the company. However, this does not address the added chore and expense of having to renew the domain name every year. According to Digital Trends, this could be a minor issue since Google for Work requires its subscriber to bring his or her own custom domain email address as well. Existing Outlook users would also recall that the personalized email was also briefly introduced back in 2014.
The GoDaddy variable, however, does complicate things a bit and could pose significant concerns especially to those who are not satisfied with the service.
"Outlook.com Premium subscriptions will auto-renew annually at the then current prices," Microsoft said. "There will be an additional charge per year for your custom domain, if you select a new domain during the registration process."
Presently, the Outlook.com Premium service is designated as Preview service in the scheme of Microsoft's universe. This tag indicates that it is not yet final or publicly released despite the fact that it already began the promotional package.