Amazon launching business email service WorkMail to compete with Microsoft and Google

Markets Associated Press

Amazon is introducing a business email and calendar service that would compete against offerings from Microsoft and Google.

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WorkMail is part of the e-commerce company's cloud computing unit for businesses, Amazon Web Services.

In cloud computing, Amazon's servers are used by other companies and organizations to host the data and applications they need to run mobile apps, websites and other services.

WorkMail works with businesses' existing email applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, although Amazon will offer a website to access email if needed.

Amazon Web Services is trying to expand from its infrastructure offerings like remote servers to more cloud software applications, R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said Wednesday.

WorkMail costs $4 per month and includes 50 GB of mailbox storage for each user. That makes it cheaper than the $5 per user per month for Google Apps and $6 per user per month for Office 365.

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"Email is realistically a $1 billion opportunity for Amazon," Baird's Sebastian wrote in a note. Email is one of the most heavily used applications, and because of that requires lots of bandwidth and storage capacity. That makes it tough to succeed as a provider, but Amazon can use its existing Web Services infrastructure, he said.

Amazon reports its fourth-quarter results on Thursday.