Microsoft is preparing a premium version of

For a modest monthly fee you get five addresses plus more. has been Microsoft's email service of preference in recent years, as it has wound down and migrated users from Windows Live Mail and It's been a perfectly good mail service, although you don't hear about it as much as Gmail, especially for business use. That's a shame because I find Gmail clumsy, klunky and an overall pain in the backside to use, especially compared to

Well, Microsoft is giving Outlook a boost in offering a paid service for a fairly modest fee that provides a few convenient services in return.

Outlook Premium was first uncovered in February by a Twitter user named Walking Cat, who found the signup page for people to participate on the beta.

Now, long-time Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott has confirmed the service, saying that Microsoft is currently looking at offering Outlook Premium as a standalone subscription instead of as a bonus feature for Office 365 subscribers, which people thought would be the case.

The page to sign up for the beta shows that Outlook Premium will cost $3.99 per month after one full year of free use, which is a pretty good enticement. After the year is up, you'll likely be so hooked you'll have to subscribe. Smart move, Microsoft.

So what would $3.99 a month get you?

  • Five personalized email addresses
  • Sharing calendars, contacts and files will be possible across personalized domains
  • Ad-free access to
  • Access to the new

I'm curious as to what the "new" is. If you have an Office 365 subscription, the page says that you will get access to Outlook Premium for free. That of course is subject to change.

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