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Microsoft plans hosted Outlook e-mail service

Microsoft is planning to offer business users remote access to their Outlook e-mail client from any computer as part of its new hosted Office Live package.

The hosted Office suite is about to be beta tested, and the Office Live Mail e-mail client, which can be accessed from any computer via a browser, is one feature being planned by Microsoft.

It is expected that Microsoft will set up a dedicated URL for users of Office Live to access their hosted Office applications.

The free hosted mail service is expected to have a 250Mbytes online limit, which is the same as Microsoft’s web-based Hotmail service. Users would be able to pay more to get a much higher limit, in the same way they do with Hotmail.

Because Outlook offers many more features than the typical web-mail client, Microsoft is banking on the remote accessibility of Office Live Mail to help it keep hold of the lion’s share of the enterprise collaboration market.

Microsoft is fighting an escalating battle against the likes of Yahoo and Google, as they add new productivity features to their portals in an effort to attract small business customers.

Office Live Mail will also allow users to access their other POP e-mail accounts via the same remote client.

Users can sign up to the Office Live beta here:

http://www.microsoft.com/office/officelive/default.mspx


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