Microsoft Launches Outlook Subscription for Hotmail

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-01-20 Print this article Print

Office Outlook Live lets Hotmail users tap Outlook 2003 through a yearly subscription and keeps messages, contacts and calendar items in sync.

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday is announcing a new service for MSN Hotmail users wanting to use Outlook to access and manage messages, contacts and calendar items. Called Microsoft Office Outlook Live, the service is Microsofts first subscription offering for an Office application, the company said. For an annual subscription, users can download a special version of the Outlook 2003 e-mail client to use in conjunction with their Hotmail accounts. The Outlook Live service also keeps e-mails, contacts and calendars in sync between the Outlook client and Hotmails servers.
"This product is targeted at our power users, those who are using Outlook at work and want the same functionality at home," said Karin Muskopf, a product manager at MSN, Microsofts Internet division.
Microsoft is primarily targeting Outlook Live to MSNs 187 million Hotmail users, including those using MSN Mail accounts and personalized e-mail accounts, Muskopf said. But the version of Outlook 2003 provided with Outlook Live also can connect to other e-mail providers whose servers support POP3 (Post Office Protocol Version 3), an MSN spokeswoman said. Outlook Live is Microsofts latest change in the way it is allowing MSN Hotmail users to access their accounts through Outlook. In September, it ended a program through which Hotmail users could access their messages in Outlook and Outlook Express using the WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) protocol. MSN cited spam concerns for the change, which required Hotmail users to subscribe to a premium account, such as MSN Hotmail Plus or MSN Premium, to gain Outlook access. Muskopf said Outlook Live and the change in WebDAV support were two separate projects. Outlook Live actually provides a license to the so-called Outlook 2003 for Subscription Services, while the former WebDAV support tied into a users existing Outlook or Outlook Express client. Testing of Outlook Live began in December, when details of the service were first reported. The Microsoft Office and the MSN product teams worked together in developing Outlook Live, Muskopf said. Outlook Live will be offered for $59.95 a year and will be made available in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. It requires Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3 or Windows XP. With the subscription, users receive 2 GB of online storage, spam and virus protection, and the ability to send attachments as large as 20 MB, according to Microsoft. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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