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Amazon sets sights on Microsoft with corporate email service

Amazon is about to enter the corporate email market currently dominated by Google and Microsoft.

WorkMail was announced earlier this week by Amazon Web Services’ marketing vice president Adam Selipsky, and will look to draw customers who feel that current email solutions are overly complex and expensive.

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WorkMail is set to cost $4-a-month per inbox, which just undercuts the $5 price for Google’s Apps for Work and Microsoft’s Office 365,

Amazon’s decision to enter the corporate email industry is likely to be influenced by the success of its cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Although initially viewed as merely an online retailer, the positive response toward AWS means that Amazon now has a strong software track record upon which to pitch WorkMail to customers.

WorkMail also offers some unique security features that are likely to appeal to customers worried about the threat of government surveillance and hacking. Companies will be able to control the encryption keys to their messages and Amazon will also ensure that emails are only stored in certain countries to counter the threat of data being stolen abroad.

The platform also offers users guaranteed simplicity of use by allowing them to continue using their email application of choice, such as Microsoft Outlook. Instead, WorkMail will focus on the behind-the-scenes technology that powers email data centres.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the email service could bring Amazon an additional $1 billion in revenue, if successful. Colin Sebastian, an equity research analyst at Baird, came up with the figure based on the estimated uptake of Google’s corporate email service. It is also believed that Amazon may launch additional workplace software to compete with products like Microsoft’s Office 365.

Despite the threat posed by Amazon’s WorkMail, Julia White, general manager for Microsoft Office marketing, believes her company’s long history in the sector will prove crucial.

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“Email is and will continue to be a critical tool for getting business done, which is why Microsoft has been deeply invested in business email for over 20 years.”