Microsoft should make its e-mail (Outlook) free - Daksh Bhagat, IIM Shillong
It was only last year that Microsoft started charging its users for the outlook facility, if they wanted free custom email domain support. That effectively meant that the freedom that Microsoft gave to the users to manage a personal non-Microsoft email domain for free was taken back. While this happened, the existing custom email domain users were taken care of. Microsoft going ahead with its culture, decided to provide an indefinite support to such customers which provided for lifetime functionality of such accounts with no provision for adding new accounts. It also gave the customers an opportunity to migrate to Office 365 with a free-three month subscription to Office 365 Small Business Premium.
The earlier versions of the website helped people in managing different mailboxes under the same roof which was probably more convenient to use. Though the “management” was limited to adding and removing up to 50 individual email accounts using the specialized domain, yet, it was a great, free feature for personal use and small businesses. Whenever customers look at online services, they expect their experience to be convenient and of low cost. When one uses multiple email ids to communicate with separate entities, it becomes all the more difficult to manage all of them at the same time. Going by the mindset of the end consumer, opening mails in separate tabs and viewing and replying to each one of them can be cumbersome as well as can lead to reduced speed and performance of the desktop.
Microsoft positions itself as a fast paced and a challenging corporate house, but the image it presented in front of its loyalists through this move wasn’t very pleasant. Emails are a part of the daily routine of customers and they wouldn’t be really willing to pay for using the same in any way, already keeping the increased costs of internet usage in mind.
Microsoft should NOT make its e-mail (Outlook) free - Chahat Shah, IIM Shillong
Microsoft, following the footsteps of Google made its email facility popularly known as Outlook, paid, for the users who wanted to access accounts other than Microsoft’s own accounts on it. Microsoft has always remained in monopoly in the operating software market, always coming out with innovations that are just better than its own previous versions. So, it took a step ahead by offering premium services. As can be seen from the chart, outlook commands a large market share in the email user population.
There is always a loyal segment available in all types of markets that will never break the vow. In such cases, the targeting is only on the niche segment and as for a matter of fact, identifying the right target is probably the best thing a marketer can do and hence charging for the e-mail service is fair enough to survive in today’s competitive market. Whenever something is charged, customers start associating quality with it, if at all they buyit. There should be no doubt about the delivery of quality from the side of Microsoft. Hence, if the company, because of its large market share, is able to reap profits, owing to the fact that it already is the market leader, a premium service should not create a havoc.
Although even if Microsoft didn’t do this, it could have gone beyond limits, as on a usual basis people wouldn’t want to switch to Gmail or any other mail server unless they are getting everything in the same window frame. There is a continuous competition amongst these service providers which for the end users can be majorly differentiated on the basis of the experience they get which includes but is not limited to speed, security concerns, etc.