Monday, February 19, 2007

Outlook Live! Has Vanished

Last year, Microsoft released a service called "Microsoft Outlook Live," which featured a suped-up email account that has really been a godsend for me. For someone juggling multiple email accounts, organizing my schedule on the computer, wanting access to my email and schedule from the web, and using more than one computer during the day, Outlook Live is a fantastic e-mail solution.

The service was 44.95 a year, and totally worth it. Basically, you received an MSN account with 2GB of storage. It also came with something called the "Outlook Connector," which was an add-on to Microsoft Outlook that let you check your email, contacts, and schedule within Outlook. But the key feature was that every time you received an email, made a change to your schedule, added a contact, or updated a task, all of that information was instantly uploaded to MSN's server and synchronized online. In addition, all of this updated information was also synchronized automatically on any other computers (like my school laptop).

I signed up for the service in March 2006, but a few months later, Microsoft stopped advertising it, and most of the support links were dead. The service dropped off the face of the earth. My email address still works fine, but there is virtually no explanation by Microsoft as to what happened to this service or what will happen to it in the future. I called tech support to find out if I'd lose my email address, and they said that they would be happy to renew my subscription at the same price because I was an existing customer. They just won't give accounts to new customers.

Though I'm happy I get to keep my service (which is a real steal at 44.95 a year), I'm a bit mad at Microsoft for completely dropping the ball on this. You'd think that they'd have their email solutions somewhat unified and under control. And amazingly, MSN Hotmail Premium, which costs more than the service I have, doesn't offer the same functionality!

I was searching for better email solutions and I can't find anything as comprehensive. gMail is kind of clunky and it offers no offline email support--which means that if I don't have an internet connection, I can't read any of my offline mail. In addition, it doesn't have any support for meeting requests or tasks, which is crucial. Yahoo Mail is a complete joke, and my school's email account is even worse. Does anybody know of any good email providers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i signed up for MOOL in february of last year and my subscription renewed just fine. i was also worried about this too because the email account is easy to work with.

about two or three weeks before my renewal, i got an email from microsoft telling me i was allowed to renew -- beware that email looks like it's a phishing scam, but it's actually real.