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Telstra is to dump its current BigPond email platform and supplant it with Microsoft’s Windows Live products.

The carrier announced that in partnership with Microsoft it will provide Microsoft Hotmail, SkyDrive and Windows Live to its 4.2 million BigPond mailboxes.

Telstra’s move to integrate BigPond with Windows Live follows the formation of a strategic alliance between Telstra and Microsoft in late 2008.

Customers will not have to change their email addresses, but have no choice other to move to the platform or cease their BigPond account if they are not Microsoft fans.

All new BigPond email customers will receive the Windows Live service while existing customers will be contacted over the course of the year with instructions on how to being the migration process.

Telstra executive director of media, applications and user experience, J-B Rousselot, said the move promises customers more storage facilities and features. However it also diminishes Telstra’s control of its own customer base by sharing it with a third party.

The move will also involve offshore storage of customer data, in a move bound to anger some users.

“The value for BigPond customers is that Hotmail offers a fast, secure and reliable email service - but this is so much more than just email. The suite of Windows Live products also includes; enhanced security features, and virtually unlimited storage of photos and documents in the cloud with SkyDrive” said Kevin Grobler, partner alliance business development manager, Microsoft Australia.

Telstra has set up a range of social media and traditional customer channels to help customers migrate. ®

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