Microsoft is piloting a new version of its Outlook.com email, known as Outlook.com Premium.
Outlook.com Premium seems to be different from the current ad-free Outlook.com service that Microsoft currently sells for $19.95 per year. Ad-free Outlook.com
, the successor to Hotmail Plus, removes graphical ads; no need to log in to keep an account active; and free technical support.
Microsoft isn't talking about when and whether the company plans to roll out Outlook.com Premium or how much (if anything) it will cost to subscribe.
But one of the features to which Outlook.com Premium testers have access is the ability to set up new custom domain accounts. Microsoft began winding down custom domain support in Outlook.com in 2014. While existing Outlook.com custom-domain holders were able to retain existing custom email addresses, Microsoft stopped accepting new registrations for the service and no longer allowed those with custom email addresses to add or remove addresses.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the company is piloting Outlook.com Premium and evaluating the return of a modified custom domain service.
"Outlook.com Premium is not an existing offering, it is an experiment that we are piloting. We're always investigating new features based on the wants and needs of our users, and we have nothing more to share at this time," the spokesperson told me after I asked about this Web page, brought to my attention by a reader.
On the custom domain front, the spokesperson said:
"We are evaluating interest in custom domains for Outlook.com. At this time, we are testing with a limited number of users in the United States and will evaluate the experience over time. The previous program required the user to manage the process of purchasing a domain. We are evaluating the appeal of custom domains but with Microsoft managing the processes of procuring the domain."...