"What's interesting is how this new email platform will help to draw attention and act as a springboard into Microsoft's emerging cloud offerings," he added. "A revamped Outlook.com should help Microsoft convince more users to add cloud functionality to their current Microsoft Office installations and thus convert a significant percentage of them to paid subscribers."
Microsoft and Google have been sparring over the enterprise cloud-based app market for a while. There's a lot of money to be made selling to corporate customers and both companies want a piece of that pie.
Microsoft has had an advantage because its Office suite of locally installed work tools have long been the dominant player in that market worldwide. However, Google came to the cloud party earlier than its rival, giving it a head start.
With both companies trying to pull in enterprise users, a socially aware, advanced email service like Outlook.com could be a good entry point for companies.
"Over the long haul, Outlook.com is designed to take customers away from Gmail, but Microsoft needs to first establish that they are in the game," said Moorhead. "I do think Microsoft is in the game with Outlook.com and if the company can promote its independent social features it could pull people from Google."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is email@example.com.
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