Microsoft is charging its MSN Premium users for services that are being made available for free to other users! suddenly made its way out, and a discussion has blown up on the issue. Ina Friend points out, a large number of users get MSN Premium included as part of a their internet access subscription (ie for free), though some users do pay for it.
The main feature without a doubt is the ability to make 11 email accounts ad-free (the main subscriber account + 10 additional member accounts). This is not available in a free form, the alternative is Hotmail Plus which costs $19.95 a year. So what would cost you $220 a year using Hotmail Plus costs just $120 a year using MSN Premium. There is a caveat here which is that MSN Premium users don't yet have access to the expanded 10GB inboxes that Hotmail Plus users get, but this isn't really a big issue if you aren't using your 5GB yet, is it?
- Encarta Premium, which is a much more complete research tool than Windows Live Academic Search/Book Search as exists currently.
- Windows Live Calendar synchronisation with Outlook via the free Outlook Connector, which is a feature that Hotmail Plus users don't have.
- The MSN Premium client which albeit is slightly outdated, provides access to all the MSN services from one place. MSN Premium users i've spoken to in the past nearly always seem to like this client, which begs the question why isn't Microsoft updating it anymore with some new features instead of sending emails around promoting the Internet Explorer 7 Optimised for MSN.