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Microsoft railroads little man with Office Live U-turn

Aims to be 'in line with competitors'

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Microsoft has decided to charge annual fees to all users of its domain renewal service on the Office Live Small Business (OLSB) site.

The company told early adopter customers of the service, who had previously been promised free website registrations for life, that from 1 October it would begin charging them a $14.95 a year renewal fee for their domains.

Redmond had offered the free website registration service as part of its OLSB online service.

As of February 2008 all new OLSB customers were told by Microsoft to expect to stump up $14.95 for each subsequent year that they had a domain name registered on the service.

However, anyone who had signed up before that date to OLSB, which launched in 2006 and is aimed at firms with 10 employees or fewer, had been promised that their domain registrations were for free "in perpetuity."

Come 1 October this year, however, those users will face the same renewal fee as everyone else using the service.

"We’ve made a policy change and will start charging customers who signed up between the above dates the annual domain name renewal fee," said Microsoft on the OLSB website.

"We’ve made the decision to begin charging all customers for custom domains to standardise our pricing and bring it in line with our competitors." ®

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