Microsoft’s Hotmail email service became Outlook.com in 2012, and since then the company has reworked it into arguably one of the best email services on the market. As a part of Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity platform, Outlook.com offers a full range of email, contact, calendar, and other capabilities to compete with services like Google’s Gmail.
Outlook.com has been going through a complete revision to its online experience, and Microsoft has been previewing a premium subscription that adds even more functionality. Now, Outlook.com Premium is officially available, although only to users in the United States, as Thurrott reports.
The Premium service offers the following features on top of Outlook.com’s basic offerings:
- Ad-free inbox: You can now access your email, photos, and documents via the Outlook.com site without being bothered with banner advertising.
- More personalized email: You can create completely customized email addresses for up to five users using your own domain name, such as “firstname.lastname@example.org.” If you already own a domain name, then you can use it with Premium as well. All of your custom email addresses can sync to your existing Outlook.com mailbox. This particular functionality is free for the first year, and you’ll need to own that domain name separately or pick a new one that can be purchased through GoDaddy.
- Enhanced sharing: You can now share your Outlook.com calendar, contacts, and documents, with users sharing email addresses on your domain being automatically configured for sharing.
In addition, Outlook.com Premium users gain access to the same new inbox experience that’s being rolled out to all users through 2017. By now, you’re likely familiar with the new experience and should have a good idea of whether or not it meets your communications needs.
Premium subscriptions are currently available at the same $20 annual price that was in effect during the preview period, but that special pricing ends on March 31. After that, the price rises to $50 per year. If you’re a U.S. customer, you can sign up today.