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Amazon WorkMail goes on general release in Europe

AWS readies challenger to Gmail and Office 365 as cloud battle with Google and Microsoft enters new phase

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has raised the stakes in its ongoing cloud battle with Microsoft and Gmail by confirming the general release of its managed email offering, WorkMail, in Europe.

The managed email and calendar service – pitched as a challenger to Microsoft Office 365 and Gmail – runs in the AWS cloud and was first announced as a preview release in January 2015.

To reinforce WorkMail’s position as an Office 365 challenger, AWS is rolling out tools and advisory documents with the release to make it easier for enterprises to migrate their inboxes from Microsoft Exchange to Amazon WorkMail.

The service is priced at $4 per user per month for a 50GB mailbox, and AWS is also giving enterprises the opportunity to trial it with up to 25 users for 30 days.

In a blog post outlining the details of the release, Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, said the company has been working hard during the preview phase to add new features and functionality to Amazon WorkMail.

These are in addition to the location control, data encryption, virus scanning and mobile device access tools that were included in the first version.

Amazon WorkMail has now acquired the ISO 27001, ISO 27017 and ISO 27018 certifications, which are often pursued by firms wanting to assure potential customers of their adherence to information security best-practice protocols.

The service also gives users the option to stipulate which AWS datacentre or region they want their mailboxes to be stored in for data sovereignty reasons, and it can also be used to process meeting room or conference equipment booking requests.

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“Amazon WorkMail now supports clients that run on OS X, including Apple Mail and Outlook,” Barr’s blog post said.

“It also supports clients that use the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol, including iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Fire Phone, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10.”

The company is also looking to add further features in due course, Barr added. “We are also working on an email journaling feature. This feature will allow you to use your existing email archiving system to capture and preserve all Amazon WorkMail communication.”

The move marks a new phase in AWS’s bid to acquire a larger share of the cloud-based business productivity space, where Microsoft and Google tend to rule the roost with their respective Office 365 and Google Apps product suites.

This strategy has also seen the company embark on forays into desktop-as-a-service, through the rollout of Amazon WorkSpaces, as it looks to expand its dominant position in the infrastructure-as-a-service sector.

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)