Microsoft has launched a subscription based version of its Outlook email, address book and calendaring client. Dubbed Microsoft Office Outlook Live, the offering is designed to combine Office Outlook with MSN Hotmail in the US, the UK and Canada.
Microsoft watcher Mari Jo Foley wonders who would want to pay the $59.95 annual subscription fee for a service that has free alternatives.
The answer is: keep it simple, stupid! Foley probably never has looked at Apple's .Mac service, which has rather successfully done exactly what Microsoft aims to do with Outlook Live. And it being Apple, they have been charging a rather hefty $100 per year. That makes Microsoft's $59.95 look a lot more attractive, doesn't it?
Users don't mind paying a few bucks if the service makes it easier for them to do their email and gives them an email address that doesn't change every time they switch internet providers.
Microsoft is planning additional subscription services in the future, but won't say which ones. Just look at the other side of the fence for suggestions: backup, web hosting and synchronisation between computers or between your computer and PDA or smartphone all make a lot of sense.
Have a look, the grass really is greenerover there.
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