This morning, Microsoft launched a new MSN subscription service called Microsoft Office Outlook Live that combines Outlook, the company's best-selling email solution, with MSN's Hotmail Plus email service. Microsoft Office Outlook Live, known informally as MOOL, gives subscribers a special version of Office through which they can access and share their Hotmail-based email, Contacts, and calendar.
"We're really excited by the collaboration between MSN and the Office team," MSN Product Manager Karen Muskops told me during a briefing this week. "Microsoft Office Outlook Live provides the power of both Outlook and Hotmail together in one place." MOOL marks the first time Microsoft has provided any of its Office applications to customers via download; the company has winnowed down the MOOL version of Outlook, dubbed Outlook 2003 for Subscription Services, to a 60MB download that broadband users should be able to grab in less than 15 minutes. MOOL also includes the Microsoft Outlook Connector, which lets Hotmail and MSN users access their accounts' email, Contacts, and calendar items via Outlook.
In addition to Office and the Outlook Connector, MOOL gives subscribers all the benefits of Hotmail Plus, including 2GB of email storage space and the ability to send 20MB of attachments per email. Designed for power users who like to simultaneously access work and personal email, MOOL lets subscribers view multiple calendars (e.g., Exchange Server and Hotmail) side by side in Outlook, letting them more easily compare work and home schedules.
MOOL will cost $59.95 a year but is available through April 19 for $44.95 for the first year. The product will initially be available to customers in Canada (in English and French), the United States, and the UK. My review of Microsoft Office Outlook Live will be available on the SuperSite for Windows later today.