Is it possible to have professional and free?
Microsoft have recently introduced a new email client that moves onwards and upwards from its free service Hotmail. For small businesses this may be the first opportunity to use a professional looking service and have access to it for free. More importantly it infers to their clients that this company is not just run on the 'cheap'.
For many the Outlook name has been long associated with the Microsoft email client built into their Windows software. By introducing the Outlook name to their free email service, Microsoft has given small business owners and workers alike, a great new product and a well respected one.
The interface is far more professional looking than its older sibling (Hotmail).
and reflects the need by many users to have a clean open environment, that is not covered in ads, as is the norm with many of the alternative free services. The spam filters have been upgraded and the promise is that the plague of any electronic mail service (spam) will be handled effectively.
From the login page a new user immediately notices that the work to upgrade the look and feel of the desktop has been achieved. Crisply white and uncluttered it is clear the desire to distance itself from its less mature cousin (think teenagers and msn messenger) has worked.
Once logged in and the user again appreciates the efforts to de-cluster the inbox. No longer are you confused by a layout, with ill thought out and seemingly random options thrown haphazardly across the screen. An efficient mail box system with a well thought out folders and quick views, to the left of the screen, allows quick access to all those important emails. To the right options to synch with other well known products such as calendars makes that work environment all the more easier.
So is this new product worth adopting? For many the old Hotmail name just didn't have sufficient gravitas to be adopted in a work environment. It would not have seemed professional but now we have an alternative excellent option. From the new name and to the clean white fresh approach, small business can be confident that this free service does not suggest a scrimping attitude.