Outlook Live! hooks PIM functions to MSN Hotmail

Microsoft is taking Outlook online with a new service that allows Outlook users to hook up to mail, calendars, and appointments and with a range of other benefits.

Launched with MSN Hotmail, Outlook Live! is a subscription to the latest version of Outlook that includes 2GB of online storage, the ability to send attachments of up to 20MB, plus security technologies.

Outlook Live! won’t just pick up MSN and Hotmail email – it will also be able to handle email from other accounts and allow multiple contact lists and calendars to be set up.

The service will be updated with the latest data whenever a user signs back in. So even if you write emails and add appointments on your laptop on the commute in to work, when you sign on at work, all those changes will be made to the online account, and you’ll receive any new mail that has come in since you were last connected.

There are also various spam filters, address blocking and virus protection offered through Microsoft’s SmartScreen technology.

‘By collaborating with MSN, we’ve been able to create a great service for our collective customers with a true eye on consumer needs,’ said Chris Capossela, corporate vice president for the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. ‘Outlook Live brings the best of two worlds together, making it easier than ever for customers to enjoy the benefits of Microsoft Office Outlook to manage their busy lives.’

UK pricing is expected to be a penny less than £40 a year. For the first three months following the launch however, Microsoft is offering a £10 discount.

In comparison, a standalone copy of the latest version of Outlook – 2003 – is more than £80 inc VAT. And Apple’s nearest online equivalent – mac.com – offers 125MB for storage and web hosting, 125MB of email space, website building, data backup and antivirus software plus access to bookmarks and address books for just under $100 a year (about £60).

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