Email is so not dead

Amazon launches new email service called WorkMail

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Amazon is once again adding to its business-suite arsenal, this time with the announcement of WorkMail, the company’s new email and calendar service, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

The Seattle giant obviously faces some stiff competition in the email business with cloud rivals [company]Microsoft[/company] and [company]Google[/company] already controlling a significant portion of the market, but [company]Amazon[/company] believes that customers “feel those solutions are expensive and complex” and it’s betting its service is easier to use, an Amazon Web Services executive told the Journal.

Customers will be able to still use the same email applications as before like Microsoft Outlook so the look of the product won’t be different from what they are used to. Under the covers, however, will be Amazon technology that takes over the duties of sending and retrieving email.

And since email encryption is all the rage these days, Amazon also said that its new service supports encryption and the ability to store emails in specific geographic regions. As for pricing, it will cost companies $4 a month per each user inbox.

For all of you who thought that email is dead, Amazon’s news proves that many companies still see email as a big business and a way to maintain foothold inside an organization; as Barb Darrow reported, Google, [company]IBM[/company], Microsoft and Dropbox all recently launched corporate email products.

Of course, there’s also new work-collaboration tools coming out from startups like Slack and even Facebook with its Facebook at Work product line; these services emphasize chat or the type of news feeds one might see on social networks as a way to keep people working together.

Amazon’s Zocalo document sharing and collaboration tool seems aligned with these endeavors, and now that Amazon has WorkMail, it would make sense for Amazon to one day make it so that the two services were somehow integrated together.

Update – 4:08 PM PST
And it looks like WorkMail is integrated with Zocalo, according to the AWS announcement, which states that WorkMail users can collaborate on documents using Zocalo, all inside the WorkMail environment.

Gigaom Research’s Janakiram MSV chimed in about the new service too and what it means for Microsoft:

[blockquote person=”Janakiram MSV” attribution=”Janakiram MSV”]Amazon WorkSpaces users already get access to Amazon Zocalo for no additional charge. With AWS Directory Services providing LDAP based authentication, customers will get single-sign-on (SSO) across their desktops, document management tool, and email. Any medium sized organisation can pretty much run their core back office on the cloud by signing up for these four services without ever investing in servers or software licenses. This is a big blow to Microsoft which sells multi-million dollar annuity licenses of Exchange server to enterprise customers. Microsoft Exchange and Exchange Online are significant contributors to the server revenue at Microsoft.[/blockquote]

2 Responses to “Amazon launches new email service called WorkMail”

  1. Providing your own encryption keys backed by Amazon’s encryption key storage service is particularly interesting. We need more details on the implementation but I would assume this is at-rest, which is what Google/GMail already does (we assume). The difference is you control the keys. But this wouldn’t protect the messages in-transit or if there was an account login breach.

    So, whilst it is a good feature, it may just be marketing fluff in practice. Full end to end encryption is what’s needed, and right now using GnuPG is a pain for most.

    I’m looking forward to the Google End to End Chrome extension to make this more accessible.

  2. Sunil Kumar Mohanty

    Great news but since it is an enterprise product and given the influence of various SIs in Enterprise decision making, it might be difficult for them to break accounts held by Google. Google offers resellers 40USD per year for their enterprise emails…