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article imageMicrosoft offers ad-free email with an address of your choice

By James Walker     Oct 18, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has quietly launched a subscription version of its Outlook.com email service in preview form. For $19.95 a year, customers get access to five personalised email addresses, an ad-free inbox and more advanced sharing options for online content.
Microsoft has been testing the service since February. It is a heavily updated version of a similar "premium" version of Outlook that Microsoft previously offered. The subscription converts Microsoft's free Outlook.com webmail into a fully-fledged email server you could use to run a business.
Microsoft allows you to create your own email addresses when using Outlook.com Premium. Instead of "john@outlook.com," you could choose "john@smithcrew.com," as Microsoft's example suggests. You're free to choose a domain that suits your business or interests, making you seem more professional than putting "outlook.com" as your email address.
Besides your own address, Microsoft will also give you four more customised inboxes to give to other people you know. This allows you to setup an email domain for your family or company. You're provided with a total of five email addresses attached to a domain of your choice. If you already own a domain name, Microsoft will allow you to use this for your Outlook.com inboxes.
The preview version of Outlook.com also gives you an ad-free version of the online Outlook interface. The usual banner ads are stripped out entirely so Outlook loads and runs faster. It also prevents flashing ads from distracting you from your email, keeping you focused on your work and documents.
Document sharing has been simplified too. It works across customised Outlook.com domains, automatically setting up sharing relationships between the email addresses on your domain. Each inbox you attach to your Premium subscription will be able to access shared calendars, contacts and documents. You'll retain full control over exactly what is shared.
The launch follows Microsoft's rollout of its completely reworked Outlook.com earlier this year. The email service is now powered by Microsoft's enterprise-grade Office 365 technology so it has the same advanced features and powerful interface as its more capable sibling. The work required to migrate Outlook's millions of users to the new service is still ongoing. Microsoft expects every customer to have access to the revamped Outlook.com by the end of the year.
Outlook.com Premium is aimed at families and small businesses. Microsoft is targeting people who want more from Outlook than the free service provides without the cost and complexity associated with Office 365. The company advises people who require more than five email addresses to purchase Office 365 Business Essentials. For customers who just want an ad-free inbox and the option of a custom domain, Outlook.com Premium should suffice.
The service is available in preview form now in the U.S. Microsoft has not commented on the roll-out or said when it will expand to other regions. Subscriptions are currently available for $19.95 a year. Full pricing will be $49.99 a year once the full service launches.
More about Microsoft, Outlook, outlookcom, Email, outlookcom premium
 
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