There’s no announcement from Microsoft, but Outlook.com Premium has shed its Preview tag, meaning it is now generally available. The bad news? It’s still offered only to users in the United States.
We’ve been writing about Outlook.com Premium for almost exactly a year: In February 2016, Brad reported that Microsoft was testing a premium version of Outlook.com that could support custom domains. That testing was eventually expanded into a trial version that cost just $4 per month, and was later quietly opened up to everyone in the US.
As I noted recently in Outlook.com Tip: Understand Your Paid Options, Outlook.com Premium provides a number of useful features:
Custom domain support for five users. You can pick a personalized email address (like thurrott.com) and assign email addresses (like [email protected]) for up to five users.
Information sharing. Outlook Premium helps you easily share calendars, contacts, and documents (via OneDrive) between those five users. As Microsoft notes, sharing relationships are set up automatically between the people who have email addresses on your domain. So this is an ideal solution for families.
Ad-free inbox. Like Ad-Free Outlook.com, Outlook Premium offers no “banner ads” (which I assume is the same as “graphical ads”) for a “distraction-free view of your email, photos, and documents.” In other words, this works across Outlook.com and OneDrive.com. (Though I’m not aware of ads on OneDrive.com.)
During the preview, Microsoft priced Outlook.com Premium at just $20 per year, but noted that pricing would increase to $50 per year after that. (By the way, that is still a great deal.) Looking at the site now, I see that the $20 offer is still available, so if you’re looking to save some money, you might want to move quickly: This offer expires March 31, 2017.
Note that you still need to pay for your custom domain. You can do that via an outside registrar or through Microsoft; if you choose the latter, that will cost $10 per year. Which is also reasonable.
Thanks to Dan D., who tipped me off via email.