Amazon has a new product called WorkMail debuting today (via Forbes), which is an email and calendaring service that aims to provide those tools for corporate customers. The tech is based on Amazon Web Services, and aims to best the reigning champs (which include Microsoft, and to a lesser extent, Google) in terms of ease of use and security.
The WorkMail product is compatible with existing client software like Outlook, and as such it could be easier to substitute for legacy Exchange email service offerings in place at many big corporate institutions provided by Microsoft . WorkMail is also encrypted once they’re sent, according to the Wall Street Journal, and then decrypted via a company-controlled key at the other end of the tunnel when received by the intended target. Emails are stored on Amazon servers located in geographic areas designed by its clients, marking another security feature that may be especially appealing to European customers post-NSA revelations.
Amazon’s pricing for WorkMail works out to about $4 per inbox, which is in line with the competition, but so far it doesn’t look like Amazon is offering up any additional features like access to the kinds of office document production software suites that Google and Microsoft offer.
AWS branching out to business that focuses more on the end-user and less on providing back-end solutions is interesting, but Amazon still seems to be positioning this as primarily a layer once removed from the person doing the actual email; it’s something to swap out for Exchange, leaving the interface software (Outlook on the desktop, or native mail clients on mobile) intact. WorkMail also offers a “feature-rich” web-based client for access without any special software.
Amazon intends to launch this in Q2 of 2015 at this point, and will also offer deals that incorporate its recently launched WorkDocs (formerly Zocalo) AWS-powered cloud-based enterprise storage. The $4 plan comes with a 50GB inbox limit, while just $2 extra per user per month will add a 200GB Zocalo file storage block on top of that. A preview is available now for those wanting to sign up for an early look.
The ambitions of AWS clearly go beyond the cloud computing back-end, and Amazon might view WorkMail as a way to gain more general recognition for its services line of business.