Microsoft is Killing Premium

Posted on October 30, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Uncategorized with 83 Comments

A support document describing new premium features for Office 365 subscribers hides the real story today: Microsoft just killed Premium.

I wrote earlier about how Microsoft was bringing some Premium features, like an ad-free inbox, to Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers. That’s great news, of course. But a related support document buries the lede.

“The Premium standalone offering is now closed to new subscribers,” the support document notes. “Current subscribers can renew their subscriptions to continue receiving subscription benefits.”


There’s also a link to another support document that continues this conversation. But there really isn’t much more to say.

If you’re already using Premium, you can continue to do so. And for now, at least, you can even renew the subscription and keep using its unique features, like custom domain support.

“We will continue to support current Premium customers with a custom domain,” the support document notes. “Just continue to renew your Premium subscription, and your domain renewal will be automatically included in your yearly subscription fee.”

Longer term, it looks like Microsoft will eventually get rid of this service, however.

“We’re working on a solution that will enable you to transfer your domain to other providers,” Microsoft explains. “For now you should continue to renew your Premium subscription to retain control of your domain and to continue using your personalized email address.”

And if you did not sign-up for Premium, you no longer can do so. That’s all she wrote.

And… that sucks.


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Comments (83)

83 responses to “Microsoft is Killing Premium”

  1. mikefarinha

    Will this newly combined service support Bring Your Own Domain?

    • John Spear

      In reply to mikefarinha:

      It feels like it might, using the 'Bring Your Own Domain' as an alias of an account that has an primary alias. I've not tested this, though.

      • TrevorL

        In reply to John_Spear:

        Ah, but if you have an old Windows Live custom domain where the domain is registered elsewhere, you do not have an account on which to hang the alias. In that case the custom email address IS your MSA.

        • Stephen Brancati

          In reply to TrevorL: "if you have an old Windows Live custom domain where the domain is registered elsewhere, you do not have an account on which to hang the alias. In that case the custom email address IS your MSA."

          The workaround is to log into with the custom domain email address, create an alias email address, and then promote that new alias to be the primary one. It should become the MSA.

        • Marc Mackey

          In reply to TrevorL:

          I also have WLD and didn't migrate because of the 5 email address limit. I've searched long and hard for a substitute for Live Domains that would give me phone sync for 7+ email accounts in my family. I haven't found anything outside of paying $5/month/user or more - which is too expensive for a family setup. Probably the only thing to do at this point is roll your own server, or suck it up and pay through the nose. In 2017 you wouldn't think custom domains would be such an advanced and expensive thing.

          • yaddamaster

            In reply to astrocramp:
            What I had before Live Domains and what I'm going to go back to is through You can get one email account and then set up as many aliases and forwarders as you want. Each aliasforwarder will just go to either an outlook or a gmail account. But yeah, it's ridiculous there aren't better options in 2017.

    • Ashdude

      In reply to mikefarinha:

      I'm using my own domain, that I purchased from GoDaddy, with Office 365. I set it up about 2 months ago. I double checked my subscriptions and all I have is a 1 year sub for Office 365 Personal and Xbox Live.

  2. bharris

    The trouble with ending a service like this is your e-mail address is not something that you can just is your point of contact, especially if on business cards, etc. Even if the functionality lives on in 365, I don't need 365....I just need e-mail. The thing is features can come and go. But when they give you an option to create your own domain, you are trusting them that it is then your address. To offer it and then say, "just kidding".....well, I will not fall for it again....

  3. idaband

    I don't even see a way to renew at this point. The button is disabled for me.

  4. sentxd

    Doesn't this mean that Office 365 consumer offerings will finally get a premium cloud email service? It looks like MS is just pushing Premium users to O365 Home/Personal. I fully expect they will include custom domain support otherwise this is a collosal let down.

    • gvan

      In reply to sentxd:

      I'm thinking and hoping that custom domains will be supported as long as the domain is registered through a 3rd party domain name registrar. That would be great! I just wish we could get some confirmation to that effect.

  5. torsampo

    Burned again with custom domains at Microsoft. I switched back from another provider when they offered Outlook Premium and now I need to switch again. It's not such a huge pain for myself- I actually kind of enjoy the hunt and the setup, but for the other family members on the plan this is embarrassing and will be a pain. Not sure what I will do this time. I G Suite never seems to be up to date with Google offerings so that's out. Office 365 Premium is a bit overkill. Ugh.

    • wright_is

      In reply to torsampo:

      Then just renew your current subscription to Premium. It is just closed to new users, according to Paul's article. At least that gives you time to look around without having to rush into anything.

      • torsampo

        In reply to wright_is:

        "closed to new users" must inevitably mean closed to all users, I'd just like some clarity as to the timeframe for that to happen. I registered my own domain so I don't rely on Microsoft for that, but of all of web email clients I have come to like Outlook the best and hate to leave it, even so I might not be left with much choice.

  6. Chris_Kez

    It seems both Microsoft and Google are expecting that the need for custom domains is really just limited to business users. I assume the market for individuals and families that want this is too small. So if you're looking for custom domain support (and didn't already subscribe to Premium), Microsoft wants you to step up to O365 Business Premium ($12.50 per user per month). If you look at Google's G Suite options, you can either get G Suite Basic with 30GB of cloud storage ($5 per user per month) or G Suite Business which is $10 per user per month and offers either unlimited storage (5+ users) or 1TB per user (<5 users).

    I guess an alternative is to find a cheap email hosting solution and then connect that to regular Outlook or Gmail to use them as a front-end? What a mess these guys have created.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      One issue I've run into with Google is that not all of their services work with a G Suite (formerly Google Apps) account. Most recently, things like the new Google Assistant and Google Home do not work with G Suite accounts. Their streamlined "Inbox" app didn't work for a long time, and still doesn't work with G Suite for Education or Government accounts. I don't think you can set up Google Music family accounts. And if you use it to buy movies or apps or games, then AFAIK you are locked into paying that monthly fee to maintain access (i.e. there is no way to transfer that stuff to a "personal" Google account).

  7. rth314

    Please write more. I have Premium and an Office 365 Home subscription. I use Premium so that my personal domain sends mail to Outlook inboxes. It sounds like that feature won't be supported in Office 365. But there are no options to renew or auto-renew the Premium subscription (even though they claim you can renew). I went through the headache of moving my domain email to Premium this year. It took Microsoft Support over a month to get it working properly. Now it looks like I have to move it again because Nadella doesn't care about inconveniencing customers. He's now killing services that were released in the same year! Don't rope in your customers with products you aren't committed to having. It's hard having faith in any Microsoft consumer service at this point.

    • gvan

      In reply to rth314:

      Agreed. We need Paul to dig up more details and write it up. I'm hoping Microsoft will do the right thing and add custom domains to their office 365 subscription. That solves all our problems...

      • Trickyd

        In reply to gvan: it's doubtful they'll do that given they removed the custom domain and website element of office 365 last year. I suspect they don't want the support headache for anything domain related.

        • peten1020

          In reply to Trickyd:

          There's no headache to support a custom domain. They are trying to bring on-board hosting companies to provide Office 365 services and hand them the consumer/small business base. Think of them as the OEMs. There's no reason to compete with them on a $3/mo email hosting.

  8. PeteB

    It seems Nadella is going to keep "hitting refresh" until not one customer is left.

  9. ben55124

    Only took MS 9 months - so learning to fail faster. Better than drawn out -- zune, media center, windows phone, music, etc.

  10. allanwith

    “... transfer your domain to other providers...”

    How about an upgrade path to Office 365?? Maybe mention that?

  11. Waethorn

    G Suite is $5/user/month for business-grade bring-your-own-domain ad-free email and 30GB of Google Drive storage (only necessary for non-Google documents).

    $10/user/month gets you 1TB and enterprise-class security auditing and archiving.

    Oh and Canadian customers pay on par.

  12. stlbud

    F####d again! Thanks Microsoft.

  13. simont

    And here I was about to setup an Premium account. Luckily or unluckily I was planning for next week

  14. SherlockHolmes

    In reply to peten1020:

    Google provides a cheaper solution. For 4 bugs you get a customer domain E-Mail adress. So why stick with Microsoft? A domain costs me 10 € per year plus 48 € for G Suite per year. Problem solved i guess

    • peten1020

      In reply to SherlockHolmes:

      Depends on what you're looking for. There are way cheaper alternatives for custom domain email anywhere between $20-$30 a year.

      If you're talking about a collaboration suite, I respectfully disagree and I think Office 365 is a more compelling offer.

  15. overseer

    I think I'm ready to end my abusive relationship with Microsoft, just not feeling the magic anymore.

    • wright_is

      In reply to overseer:

      My guess is that very few people used the service, so it is probably not viable. At least existing customers can keep using it.

      I would also guess that a large proportion of the paying customers were also Office365 users and it makes more sense to roll it into that offering.

      The other problem was Microsoft's typical limited availability of such products, I believe it was yet another product that didn't make it to customers outside the USA.

      • Bart

        In reply to wright_is:

        There is something we shoud be angry about; Microsoft's US focus for launching services. Even though via Twitter I got confirmation from Microsoft Netherlands (my home country), Cortana is still coming, but sheeshhhh, it takes long

        • wright_is

          In reply to Bart:

          Exactly! I've been using Cortana on Windows 10 and Windows Mobile 10 for a couple of years, but Cortana for iOS and Android are still not available - the Google Play Store still says that my Nexus 5X is not compatible with Cortana...

          It would be interesting to know, why Cortana for iOS and Android can't use the same back-end infrastructure as Cortana for Windows.

          • Bart

            In reply to wright_is:

            I downloaded Cortana on my Nexus 5X via apkmirror dot com. It is side loading, but so far no hick ups and all the latest (beta) builds are on there

      • SherlockHolmes

        In reply to wright_is:

        Microsoft never promoted the service. Most people didnt knew about it.

    • Bart

      In reply to overseer:

      Because Google or Apple never kill a service....

    • SherlockHolmes

      In reply to overseer:

      Sadly enough, I feel the same way for a long time now. Thank God I didnt register my Domain with Microsoft. I used my own provider. So I own the Domain. I am thinking of using G Suite in the near future.

      • Bart

        In reply to SherlockHolmes:

        Office 365 is about the only certainty in MS at the moment. To come up with G Suite..... This whole service was like Groove Music / Movies & TV / Windowsphone etc etc. MS is getting rid of business that isn't viable for them. We should applaud them

        • SherlockHolmes

          In reply to Bart:

          We should applaud them? Why? Microsoft focuses on things only a minority needs. Like HoloLens or Mixed Reality. On the other hand MSFT moves more and more away from its private customer base. They made them big in the first place. And you really think this is a good thing?

          • Bart

            In reply to SherlockHolmes:

            Yes I do. Microsoft focuses on big things. Office (365), Windows, Azure. Not really compelling consumer services, I agree, but definitely good business. On the other hand, focuses on new markets like HoloLens and Mixed Reality.

            Don't get me wrong, I am still hoping for some sort of Andromeda device with every PWA imaginable. But until that time, MS does, what needs to be done.

  16. gvan

    Every time I get upset with Microsoft for ignoring customer needs, I take a deep breath and look at my Apple TV remote. HeHeHe...

  17. Finley

    What bs

    Are they able to support a service for anything beside a large corp.

  18. C.J. Martinez

    Any word on what happens to customers with an subscription and a separate Office 365 Home Plan?

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to C_J_Martinez:

      I'd like to know this as well. I liked Premium because it was ad-free and offered custom domain support, which AFAIK were not features of Office 365 Home or Personal.

    • gvan

      In reply to C_J_Martinez:

      Paul, please provide some info for those of us in this double subscriber situation if possible! This sounds like a positive cost saving with no downside if I'm reading these articles right?

  19. Cdorf

    Booo- What a fantastic deal that was. I signed up immediately when that came out. I hope they make the transition smooth for those of us that purchased it and with a custom domain too.

  20. Mark from CO


    I would say skborders is probably right about the number of subscribers. But you have to wonder if Microsoft really has a strategy for this stuff, and more important the patience and willingness to invest in products to see them succeed. Seems like Microsoft is throwing a lot things against the wall to see if anything sticks...

    Mark from CO

  21. Engineerasaurus

    Why wouldn't you just go for Office 365 instead of Outlook Premium? O365 would appear to do everything that does and then some...

  22. skborders

    My guess is there weren't a lot of subscribers.

  23. Alexander Rothacker

    So glad I procrastinated on moving my e-mail with a custom domain name over to them.

  24. gvan

    I just signed up for Outlook Premium a few weeks ago! I'm happy with it. Why is Microsoft pulling a "Google"?

    • arknu

      In reply to gvan:

      Sadly, lately it's Microsoft that has been randomly killing products, not Google. This is just the latest one.

      • navarac

        In reply to arknu:

        As I wrote before (when Groove was pulled) I'll not subscribe/buy/invest in anything from Microsoft at the moment. Apart from Windows (?) itself I just do not trust them anymore.

  25. Darekmeridian

    Wow... I would like to kick someone right now.

    I am pretty sure that it's only a matter of time before you won't be able to even renew.

  26. glendo calrissian

    Getting the rug constantly jerked out from under you is starting to suck.

  27. gvan

    How will this impact people who are subscribers of both Outlook Premium AND Office 365? In reading both of Paul's articles it sounds like there will be no impact. Just a benefit of one less bill as both services will be covered under the Office 365 subscription???

  28. SherlockHolmes

    And again, Microsoft slaps private customers in their faces. Im glad I did subscribe to Premium a year ago so it looks like I can keep it a little while longer.

  29. Stooks

    Microsoft = Enterprise Subscription Company. Everything/Everyone else is an after thought.

    I am surprised they did not rename it first, then 6 months later kill it off.

  30. wunderbar

    People give google crap for killing consumer services all the time, but I'd argue that Microsoft is just as bad.

    If it isn't directly related to Windows 10 or Xbox, I wouldn't trust any consumer service from Microsoft.

    • maethorechannen

      In reply to wunderbar:

      Even Xbox isn't 100% safe, just look at the Kinect. They also seem to be going out of their way to blur the lines between console and PC, which doesn't exactly inspire long term confidence in the console.

  31. mattbg

    Ah... I just removed my personal domain from Office 365 Business to move it over to Outlook Premium. The domain removal has been in progress for 2 days.

    It sometimes feels like dealing with an untrustworthy friend when engaging with Microsoft products/services. I pity anyone that is in charge of maintaining support procedures based on Windows 10 with the number of things that change, move, or are removed or deprecated between "feature updates".

  32. ram42

    I signed up for the Outlook Premium + custom domain promo when it became available last year. I briefly entertained making it my primary personal email option, but there was that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I had better not do that--Microsoft is not a company to be relied upon for most anything besides Windows and Office. They proved me right.

  33. dougkinzinger

    Been using Premium for over a year now. Beta tested it. Told MS had three excellent use cases - and all three ended up using the service. Perfect for families who want(ed) a custom domain name. All are still using it. Shame they're killing it.

  34. chrisrut

    Went through a dead-end-custom-domain back in Home Server days. Sigh... Once bitten, twice shy, so I've never gone this route again. Because. So, I sit and wait and wonder what Microsoft might now recommend that would instill such confidence I'd make the leap again?

    • bassoprofundo

      In reply to chrisrut:

      Same here for me but with Windows Live Custom Domains... I'm still "stuck" right now with my family's accounts on a WLD and was frankly too afraid to try and migrate everything over to Outlook Premium (which, to be clear, wouldn't have been a true migration anyway since they basically offered no path for migration). I'm glad I didn't even attempt that nightmare.

      • TrevorL

        In reply to bassoprofundo:

        I also am sitting on a (now obsolete but still working) Windows Live Custom Domain. Always wished to convert to an Premium custom domain. I naïvely thought that since it was a paid service as opposed to a free one, it might stick around longer. I never did it because I could never find advice on how to do this - it looked like it might be tricky.

        Not sure how to deal with this now. That's another thing to the long and growing list of services that Microsoft has ripped out from under me. (I think I've got 8 things on the list that have directly affected me.)

  35. Hougaard

    Well, converting it to a Office 365 (home with mail) offering would be the smart thing...

  36. Simard57

    if I bit and have a custom domain through Outlook Premium, I have to iterate another subscription period to learn what my options are?

    How does Microsoft think I should feel about that -- of course they probably do not care. Would have been better if they had a full story before announcing this.

  37. jbuccola

    It was half-baked anyhow. Couldn't specify which alias from which to send calendar invites, had a buggy admin console. I ended up getting O365 personal and migrating to that months ago for this reason. Once Apple finally improves sharing features on iCloud (folders are a glaring miss), I'm gone - Microsoft will mean as much to me as Adobe; a fine productivity toolset with a shaky consumer offering.

  38. gregsedwards

    I suppose I'll miss having a custom domain. But otherwise I don't think I'll really notice as I already have an Office 365 Home Premium subscription. And to be honest, I was less than impressed with their custom domain services. It turns out there's nothing you can really do with that domain except use it as a vanity email address, which I think I've done exactly zero times this year. If I get the other core features in Office 365, then I'm happy with that.

  39. Bart

    If this service wasn't gaining enough traction (and pls don't use this site as a reference), then it makes perfect sense for MS to do so.

  40. prjman

    I've been a lifelong fan of Microsoft products. Of late, however, I have been rethinking brand loyalty, and moving my usage over to a variety of companies, instead of just MS.

    MS has been killing too many products without regard to the impact on customers. In doing so, they are forcing people to question whether or not the product they are purchasing from them will be supported for ANY length of time, much less long into the future. They will likely retain a good portion of what 'Outlook Premium' was, and if that benefits you, that's great. Don't expect your 'killer' feature to be kept, however.

  41. m_p_w_84

    i have had my email on a custom domain, via O365 for a few years now. I have a personal office 365 subscription for the Office apps but also subscribe to the ‘Exchange Online Plan 1’ which is another monthly cost per user to use my custom domain!

    am I correct that is the only way to have a custom domain and use exchange without a business subscription ?