At the start of the year there was some discussion around whether MSN Premium offered good value for money in light of all these new and free Windows Live services. While we still think its great if you want several ad free accounts, we’ve heard that it could be about to lose yet another one of its unique features in favour of the free approach.
Currently if you use Windows Live Calendar (the MSN migrated calendar, not the new one in beta), the only way you are able to access it via a desktop client is using the Microsoft Outlook Connector. Also required is an MSN Premium subscription, and no Hotmail Plus doesn’t work. However this looks set to change as a new Outlook Connector is currently in dogfood testing internally, and we’ve heard that this one provides Windows Live Calendar access from within Outlook, to all users. So as well as updating the connector to support the new and in beta calendar service, Microsoft looks set to make this feature freely available to all.
While this comes as somewhat of a surprise, it probably shouldn’t do. Stretching our minds back to when MSN Hotmail existed, the first Outlook Connector was entirely a premium feature. Then along came Windows Live Hotmail and the Outlook Connector was updated to provide access to emails for all. Along comes Windows Live Calendar beta, and surprise surprise we seem to have access to calendar items via Outlook on the way for all users.
So while this is good news for those not with an MSN Premium subscription, those that have one and don’t get it for free via their internet service provider, might want to start thinking about swapping over to Hotmail Plus. Now where’s the Windows Live Calendar desktop application I wonder…