Microsoft’s mail hosting Outlook.com now comes with extras for Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers, as we foretold a while ago.
In short, the ‘Premium’ $50/$20 a year Outlook.com is dead. The Premium benefits are now available to all Office 365 Home and Personal users. If you’re one of the five people linked to an Office 365 Home licence and the link uses an Outlook.com address, you get the extras.
An Outlook.com account linked to Office 365 Home/Personal now gets:
- Ad-free in the web browser
- 50GB of storage if using the original 12GB allowance
- Better malware scanning
- Better tech support
That’s on top of the other benefits of Outlook.com including:
- 12GB of online storage
- Easy synchronization of email/calendar/contacts across all your computers/devices using Microsoft Outlook or the supplied Mail/Calendar/Contacts apps that come with the device (Apple or Android).
- The MS Outlook apps for Apple/Android are NOT necessary, in fact we do NOT recommend them at all.
- Connected Accounts – new mail from other email addresses is ‘grabbed’ and put into your Outlook.com Inbox.
How to get the Outlook.com benefits
Your Office 365 benefits must be linked to an Outlook.com email address:
- @Outlook.com or earlier incarnations like @hotmail.com, @live.com or @msn.com.
- NOT any other address, like @gmail.com @yahoo.com etc even if that person also has a qualifying Outlook.com account as well.
- That means some people will be changing their Office 365 linked email address to their Outlook.com one.
To see if your Microsoft account is linked to Office 365. At any Microsoft site go to My Account then Services & Subscriptions. You’ll see ‘Office 365’ Home or Personal. If it’s a Home package, under Benefits you’ll see who shared the Office 365 plan with you.
It’s taking a few weeks for the new Outlook.com benefits to flow to all qualifying users. Our test account is still showing ads in the web browser (as a 7 Nov 2017).
Office 365 University does NOT qualify for these extra benefits. Microsoft hasn’t specifically EXcluded ‘University’ from the new Outlook.com benefits but does say it’s only for the Office 365 consumer plans; Home and Personal.
Custom Domains are dying
One Outlook.com Premium feature is now discontinued … custom domains.
Anyone who has an Outlook.com custom domain can continue to use it but no more will be created.
Microsoft is working on some way to transfer domains purchased via Microsoft to customers.
It’s a shame that custom domains won’t be available anymore. The ability to use Outlook.com services but with your own domain name was a major benefit compared to Gmail. To have a custom domain you’ll need the business/enterprise offerings from Outlook.com, Gmail or others.
Why do this?
Microsoft will probably try to spin this as corporate generosity to Office 365 customers. The truth is a lot more selfish.
Outlook.com Premium wasn’t selling well. The official $49.99 annual price wasn’t supportable so the introductory $19.99 price was continued. But even that price would not entice enough people.
Since Microsoft could not sell Outlook.com extras on their own, they’ve done the next best thing and bundled the premium benefits into Office 365 Home and Personal.
Not only does the change boost the enticements for Office 365 annual fees, but it also encourages people to use Outlook.com. The fine-print detail that Office 365 users have to be linked to Outlook.com addresses is important because it forces more customers into Microsoft’s mail hosting service.