Microsoft cheating on MSN Premium customers

Several millions of MSN Premium subscribers are paying almost USD 120 for services that Microsoft is giving for free elsewhere.

Scott Dunn from Windowssecrets found out that up to 8.2 million people are using MSN Premium which offer 21 features, most of which are available for free from Microsoft itself.

It is difficult to understand why Microsoft seems to be competing with itself, especially after free Windows Live services has been so heavily promoted worldwide.

Created back in 2004, MSN Premium is in fact a remnant of a bygone period when premium Internet services like email virus protection, phishing filters and parental controls were seen as nice add-ons rather than essential features.

Still, a bonus of USD 1 billion per annum - Microsoft charges its MSN Premium customers on a rolling contract - is not bad at all, especially since there's little effort and R&D involved.

The Redmond-based company is expected to offer more differentiation points between Windows Live and MSN Premium in the forthcoming months and will run both Windows Live and MSN Premium as complementary services.