A while back, Microsoft made an announcement about their new ‘LIVE’ initiative. It wasn’t clear then exactly what this meant and I’m not entirely sure now. The basic message was they were going to provide free web-based services to small businesses and consumers. Those services would be ad-based and would come in the form of email, domain registration, personal home pages, messaging ect.
Here’s a definition I found for Windows LIVE: Windows Live is a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.
Okay . . . still a bit vague but it begs the larger question, why? Collectively Yahoo, Microsoft and Google are building two of the largest datacenters the world has ever seen so I suspect there is a bigger plan for world dominance of online services. To speculate on the tactics would require many additional posts.
But there is no mystery to why we offer free services.
We’ve been offering free web-based, ad-supported services for years. We’ve been running our mail2web email retrieval service for almost 10 years. We run some advertisements to help pay for the service but other than that there is no hook. It’s anonymous and secure; we don’t collect passwords or SPAM people.
We do it because we love online technology. We thought it was really cool to provide a service that allowed our customers access to their email from any internet-connected device. And we hoped that people would appreciate this, recognize our competence and maybe sign up for our other paid services. With Google, Microsoft and Yahoo as competitors you have to do some pretty unique things to survive.
That was the thinking when we launched mail2web.com LIVE. We’ve been working with Microsoft Exchange for years and thought we’d launch a free, web-based version so people could see the interface and some of the features. We embedded an ad to help pay some of our overhead costs (like Microsoft licenses) but ultimately we wanted to showcase our expertise with Microsoft Exchange and allow people to try the product and service. We hope some might upgrade to a paid version of the product – we have several – but with any of our free offerings, there is no requirement to do so and very few limitations on the functionality.
I hope our message is clear.
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc.
V.P. of Sales and Marketing