Microsoft Cancels Free Custom Domain Email Accounts on Outlook.com

Microsoft Cancels Custom EmailsTalk about a bait and switch.

I'm primarily a Google Apps user, but since Google did away with the free version of Google Apps for Business, I've been taking advantage of Microsoft's free version of custom domain hosted email on Outlook.com.  They actually had a pretty good deal, you could have up to 50 free email addresses using your own domain.

If you remember back in the day, that's what Google Apps used to offer when they first launched.

I tried logging into my account this morning to add an email address and got this message.

outlook free domain

Yes, they have cancelled the program and encourage you to subscribe to their paid version, Office 365.  They have also frozen your account so you cannot log in and make any changes.

Yes, bait and switch at it's best.

So what did Microsoft do?

1- They did not notify any of their current users (the message indicates they will do it in a few weeks), they just left this message basically saying they have frozen your account so you cannot add or remove users.  For the time being, you can still log into Outlook.com with your current email addresses, though it is unclear when they will remove that functionality as well.

2- By freezing out your admin account, they are indicating their will be no grandfathering of existing accounts.  It appears you either have to pay for Microsoft 365 or get your email off of their platform.

So how is this different from what Google Apps did when they transitioned to a paid only offering?

1- Google Apps grandfathered in all existing accounts and let them keep whatever plan they were currently on.  I have 2 Google Apps accounts that have 50 free email addresses and another one that still has 10 free email addresses, for life.  High five to Google for that!

2- Google Apps made the transition gradual.  They downgraded the 50 free email address plan to 10 for new signups and eventually moved to a paid only version.  But they did not force everyone to move to a paid version as they still honored the free versions.

Goodbye Outlook.com

Guess it's time to look for a new email host.  At the current $5 a month just for basic email (does not include Microsoft Office), Google Apps is the better deal in my opinion as they give you their full suite of applications included.  Plus, Google was definitely more above board when they made their transition to a paid only service than Microsoft has.

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Gary

CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
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