In a sudden move before a couple of hours, Microsoft just ended the support for custom email for domain names. The move was just announced on Microsoft Windows Live Admin Center, the same screen where users used to log in to get free email for whatever domain they own.
According to Mike Schackwitz, the head of Outlook.com project, Microsoft has considered shutting the custom domain project immediately. Microsoft will no longer be accepting new domain names for free, however, people who have already registered on outlook.com can continue using the service for free. Microsoft was providing free email for custom domains ever since 2005, even before Google started Google apps for business free edition.
Until 2012, Google and Outlook were the 2 most popular choices for people who wanted free email solution for their domain names. In December 2012, however, Google stopped providing free email solution for custom domains, the same service is available for around 50$ per year per user, the charge increases even more if someone opts to go for enterprise features.
If the rumors are to be believed, then even Microsoft is planning to move toward paid business which includes office 365 business (Exchange online, Lync online and SharePoint online) costing $60 per year and office 365 business (with a licence to install desktop apps and mobile applications) costing $150 per year. The existing customers, who are already using outlook mail for custom domains, will get promotional offers while signing up for this offer.
The users who are already using outlook mail for custom domains, will be able to use the service interrupted for 2 more months. From June 2014, the administrators managing custom domains will lose the ability to add or remove accounts from inside the control panel and the custom addresses will be converted to standard outlook.com accounts having the same custom email address.
This move could be expected from Microsoft and there were a few clues giving such thoughts. Even after the service changed from hotmail to outlook.com, the sign in screen for the users used to show the previous Live branding and logo. However, whatever is teh condition, people using outlook mail for domains should start looking for some alternatives if they still want to avail free emails for domains.
If you are a free customer of this service, you will be notified of the changes in a few days via mail. Good Luck. 🙂