Microsoftâ€™s Outlook Hotmail combination makes little sense
Microsoft with their Desktop Search showed that they could do great work when competition challenges them with rival products. Of course, it did not support alternative browsers for searching but that is pretty much expected when it comes to Microsoft. However, when we look at the new deals from them, Microsoft Desktop Search looks awesome.
The latest offering from Microsoft called â€˜Microsoft Office Outlook Liveâ€™ is another example of where Microsoft is horribly getting it wrong with their marketing strategies. What they are offering is subscription-based module of Office Outlook 2003 along with 2 GB of online storage combined with features like spam and virus protection. They would let users send and receive mails with up to 20 Megs attachments.
The problem as highlighted by many online discussion boards and journals is that there is nothing exciting about this deal, which comes at a hefty price of USD 59.95 for a year. Unless a user is really hooked onto the Microsoft Outlook application and its PIM, I doubt anyone would really be interested. Especially when competition in the form of Google has their GMail with free POP! What you get with GMail is a 1GB mailbox, which would work with any mail client out there that supports POP. And this list obviously includes MS Outlook (if you already own a copy).
Of course, Google has yet not given any PIM functionality to GMail service. There is an address book but Outlook definitely beats this combo with its PIM component. Yahoo! comes handy here. Their paid service costs around USD 20 for a year for 2 GB storage space and POP support. Yahoo! had excellent value addition services, which can easily take Microsoftâ€™s PIM Services albeit online. However, you can use it on any platform while with Microsoft you are stuck with Windows Operating System and Microsoft Office Outlook. Users would have to switch to Hotmail when on alternate operating systems to check their mail on the web. No application support offered on that front.
The consumer has to finally decide what he goes for. With excellent free applications like Thunderbird available and Chandler under making, going for Microsoftâ€™s deal looks awful. Moreover, with Internet connectivity becoming cheaper and widespread, managing your email online makes lot of sense than doing that offline.
On a similar note, I am still amused on how long it will take for Microsoft to give 250 megs mailboxes to all of their hotmail users. I am still waiting for my mailbox to get some breathing space!