MICROSOFT HAS WARNED users of its custom domain service for Outlook.com accounts that it will drop support for the service with immediate effect.
The service, which allows users to manage non-Outlook.com addresses from within the webmail environment will stop accepting new registrations immediately. But of course, being Microsoft, it has a plan, specifically a Small Business Premium Plan that is yours for just £100.80 per year.
Microsoft Office 365, the company's cloud based productivity suite, didn't exist when Outlook.com (then Hotmail) started offering a custom domain service, but now it does, and the functionality overlaps to the extent that it was only a matter of time before it spotted the opportunity to extract more money from its customers.
Thus it comes to pass that customers of the Outlook.com service are being lured away with a free three month subscription to Microsoft Office 365.
The announcement from Microsoft said, "Microsoft will offer existing Outlook.com custom domain customers a complimentary three month subscription to [Microsoft] Office 365 Small Business Premium. Current customers using custom domains with Outlook.com will be notified via email in the coming weeks with further details and instructions."
The custom domain service had been sidelined in recent years and indeed the announcement came on a webpage branded under the now defunct "Windows Live" branding.
Existing customers will be able to add and remove addresses from existing domains for an unspecified period, but this will eventually be removed too, leaving only native domain extensions on the Outlook.com email service.
Microsoft Office 365 does offer a series of cheaper options for home users, however they do not include Outlook functionality. µ