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article imageMicrosoft's 'premium' subscription email service launches in U.S.

By James Walker     Feb 14, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has officially launched its Premium subscription-based email service. It offers an enhanced version of Outlook's online experience, including an ad-free inbox, improved sharing and the option of using a personalised domain. Premium launched in preview back in October. Today, Microsoft quietly removed that tag though, in the process expanding the service to everyone in the U.S. There's currently no word on when it will be rolled out globally.
Subscriptions are paid annually and cost $19.95 for twelve months of access. The service targets families and small business owners who want something a cut above consumer email without the hassle of managing their own server. It's the familiar Outlook web app augmented with a few power-user features.
Perhaps most significantly, the Premium subscription includes five personalised email addresses that end in a domain of your choice. That gives you four accounts to hand out to family members or co-workers at your business, giving you everything you need to start sending emails that look professional.
The choice of domain is up to you. Microsoft uses GoDaddy as its registrar and supplies all new Premium registrations with a free domain for a year. Domains are then billed annually thereafter, costing $10 on top of the $19.95 Outlook fee.
Besides personalised addresses, purchasing Premium gives you a faster Outlook experience that's stripped clean of ads. With no flashing distractions around your inbox, you'll be able to work more efficiently and let your computer catch its breath. Outlook is faster to load and use without the overhead incurred by ads.
Microsoft s new  launched 17/02/2016
Microsoft's new, launched 17/02/2016
Microsoft also gives subscribers an enhanced version of OneDrive sharing. All the email addresses attached to your custom domain come with automatic access to shared calendars, contacts and documents. This simplifies sharing documents with employees or family members by making everything accessible by default. Sharing options can be customised individually once the account is setup.
The launch of Premium represents a diversification of Microsoft's product family. It bridges the gap between the consumer-focused simplicity of and the fully-featured but pricey Office 365 Business Essentials. The latter is also complex and more than just email, making it overkill for a small business owner who just wants an ad-free inbox and a custom domain name.
It's this demographic that Microsoft is really appealing to with Premium, aiming to offer a viable half-way point between Office 365 and for the people who aren't fully catered for by either. With pricing currently low compared to alternative solutions, the company stands a reasonable chance of converting existing Outlook customers. You can sign-up today if you live in the U.S.
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