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Saturday, March 25, 2006
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I’m confused by the value of the offerings from Microsoft!

I’m thinking of moving my personal e-mail to a hosted solution. To that end, I am exploring the options that are available from both Google and Microsoft.

Here is what I am looking for:

  • Value! I don’t mind paying but I expect to get get additional value for the paid service when comparing it to a free service.
  • POP access to e-mail accounts
  • Clean and usable web interface to e-mail. This is going to be used by non-technical members of my family, so ease of use is very important.
  • Decent amount of storage space. Decent is defined by me to be 1–2 GB of storage

The solutions that I am looking at are GMail for your Domain by Google and Windows Live Custom Domains from Microsoft.  Both are presently in beta.

The GMail solution has a straight-forward description. The account is free for up to 10 users, the administrative interface is clean and each e-mail account I create has all the features that a regular GMail account has, including more than 2GB of storage space and POP access.

In looking at the Windows Live Custom Domains, you can have unlimited number of users but in order to get 2GB in-boxes for your accounts you will have to get accepted into the Windows Live Mail Beta. Otherwise you are limited to a 250MB Hotmail in-box. Another kicker is that you don’t get POP access with the free account. In order to get off-line access (I’m not calling this POP yet, and I’ll get to that) to the mailboxes, I will have to upgrade to a Premium E-Mail Solution such as MSN Hotmail Plus which costs $19.95 / year.

The Hotmail Plus does upgrade your in-box to a 2 GB in-box, which means you don’t have to go through the Live Mail beta to get the bigger in-box. But then it says “Check and manage your Hotmail Plus e-mail through Outlook® Express, Outlook 2002 (XP), or later versions”.  Does that mean POP access or just access from Outlook and Outlook Express using some sort of a custom message protocol? Nowhere is the phrase POP mentioned! Is there POP support or not?

From what I can see, it would appear that by paying ~$20/year to MSN, I will get an account that is comparable to what Google will give me for free. The only disparity is that Google has a 10 user limit for free usage which is not a big deal for a personal e-mail solution given that it fully supports e-mail aliases.

What gets me is that in order to get some of the details on the MS solution, I had to go to about 3 different MS properties (Live, Hotmail, MSN) to pull the information together. So what exactly will I be receiving for that $19.95/year from Windows Live Custom Domains as compared to Gmail for your Domain? Hmm..?

[Now playing: The Rhythm Divine - Enrique Disc 1]

Tags:: Musings
3/25/2006 8:12 PM Eastern Standard Time  |  Comments [0]  |  Disclaimer  |  Permalink   
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