Microsoft is making some big changes to the way it handles Outlook.com This is good news if you happen to be a subscriber to Office 365, but bad news if you’d thought about signing up for Outlook.com’s premium features without having an Office 365 subscription. Microsoft will no longer offer Outlook.com Premium as a separate service. This refers only to the paid version of Outlook.com, the free version won’t be affected.

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Outlook.com Premium costs $49.99 per year and offers an ad-free online inbox plus custom domain names and easier sharing of contacts, documents, and calendars.  Microsoft only just introduced Outlook.com Premium at the beginning of this year, so it makes you think that the Premium service wasn’t selling so well as a standalone.

If you have Office 365 and are using the Outlook.com inbox online with the same email address, you should soon see an ad-free inbox.  There will also be enhanced malware protection and customer support.

Users of the free Outlook.com receive a 15GB mailbox, those with an Office 365 subscription will see the space upped to 50 GB.

Office 365 subscribers won’t have to do anything to activate these changes. They are slowly rolling out automatically.

If you currently have an Outlook.com Premium account, it won’t be affected. But new sign-ups to Outlook.com Premium won’t be allowed.

So let’s break down whose email will be affected.

  1.  You have an email address that ends Outlook.com, HotMail.com, Live.com, or MSN.com.  This does not affect the Outlook email client program that receives mail on your PC.
  2. If you’re using the free version of Outlook, HotMail, Live.com, or MSN.com, you won’t notice any changes unless you have a subscription to Office 365.
  3. If you have a subscription to Office 365 and use Outlook.com online, you may notice that the ads will disappear from your inbox.
  4. If you paid for a Premium subscription to Outlook.com, you won’t notice any changes. They won’t be offering new Premium subscriptions, but current ones shouldn’t be affected.