Microsoft is working on a new version of Outlook.com termed ‘Outlook Premium’ that offers several niceties such as an ad-free inbox along with up to five custom email addresses for $3.99 a month.
The Redmond-based company though has stated Outlook Premium as a small pilot project at the moment; its viability is still being worked out. Till then, Outlook Premium will be an invite only service. Also, the first welcome email will be arriving only after five days of signing up for the service.
Post that; users will have the option to create their custom email addresses from the several email domain names that the system proposes. Users will not only be able to exchange email messages using the new email addresses but also sign into any of Microsoft’s services.
Another standout feature of Outlook Premium will be its improved sharing with several related apps such as Calendar.
Further, the email service will be available for free for the first year and $3.99 a month after that. The service could be made available for free to existing Office 365 subscribers. The pricing might still change given that everything is still being fine-tuned, and a lot may happen during the one year that the service will be doled out for free.
The launch of Outlook Premium shows a clear intention on the part of Microsoft to look for other ways to monetize their email service other than incorporating ads. It is not known when the service will be launched officially though Microsoft is yet to even formally announce the service.
“Outlook.com Premium is currently a small pilot program. We’re always investigating new features based on the wants and needs of our customers, and we have nothing more to share at this time,” a company spokesperson revealed to TechCrunch.
Microsoft currently offers users the option to switch to an ad-free version of Outlook for $19.94 annually. However, it still continues to trail behind Google’s Gmail on the popularity stakes. Google right now offers custom domains for each user for a monthly payment of $5.
If you want to try out it, Click here to signup or request an Outlook Premium invite from Microsoft.