Amazon launches WorkMail to take on Microsoft

AWS official blog

Amazon has launched a work email service in a bid to take on dominant player Microsoft on the office battleground.

Seattle, WA-based Amazon is known for e-commerce and drones, but it also provides IT services through Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This division is behind WorkMail, which allows users to send and receive emails, manage contacts and share calendars -- just like many of the existing email services.

Amazon WorkMail costs $4 per user per month and includes 50 gigabytes of mailbox storage for each user. It can also be integrated with mobile devices, as an increasing number of employees use their own devices for work.


WorkMail is a cloud-based service and can work with existing email clients such as Microsoft's Outlook and other applications.

In an effort to appeal to corporate customers, Amazon has designed the service so that businesses wouldn't have to install a new email client. It could also potentially remove the need for a company server, as all WorkMail communications will be managed through the cloud.

"Customers have repeatedly asked us for a business email and calendaring service that is more cost-effective and simpler to manage than their on-premises solution… we built Amazon WorkMail to address these requests," Peter De Santis, vice president of AWS Compute Services, said in a press release.

'Branching out'

The move highlights Amazon's technology ambitions, particularly in the office, which is seen by companies such as Samsung and Facebook as a key battleground in the enterprise market.

AWS is already behind a number of enterprise technologies and says that companies including Netflix and Unilever use its products.

Read MoreIs this the future of work email?

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suggested that the division could bring in $6 billion of revenues this year, up from $4.3 billion in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal. Amazon does not break down earnings for AWS.

AWS official blog

"They have an ecosystem with devices, content and they are a hardcore technology company that extends through the digital ecosystem," Ian Fogg, head of mobile and telecommunications at IHS, told CNBC.

"This isn't coming completely out of the blue as they have the technology to underpin it. This is branching out but not coming from nowhere."

Amazon is placing heavy emphasis on the security of the product -- a concern among many IT managers in large businesses – saying that it uses industry-standard encryption and cybersecurity protection.

Microsoft remains the dominant player in the corporate email space, with Google as a smaller player. However, a number of smaller companies – such as Dropbox -- are also involved in the corporate productivity sector, and analysts are unsure about how much of a dent Amazon can make to Microsoft's top spot.

"It is a late move by Amazon but I think that competitors should still take it seriously because it is likely to be a disruptive player. But it's hard to predict how big that will be," Martin Garner, senior vice president at CCS Insight, told CNBC by phone.