Telstra has quietly shelved a major deal with Microsoft that would have seen it migrate 4.2 million email addresses to offshore hosting facilities.
The carrier announced early in 2012 that it would move BigPond mailboxes to Microsoft’s cloud-based email platform, Windows Live. The migration was expected to go ahead throughout last year.
At the time, the carrier's executive director of media, applications and user experience, JB Rousselot, said new customers would automatically receive the Windows Live service.
Telstra was expected to contact current BigPond email customers during 2012 with instructions on how to move to Windows Live.
However, a Telstra spokesman has confirmed to iTnews that the migration never went ahead and that the plan to migrate existing BigPond customers across to the Microsoft platform had been shelved.
CEO David Thodey told the carrier's annual general meeting in Sydney today the planned migration had "been OK, but not as good as we thought it was going to be".
"The transition for new customers has been pretty straightforward, [but] for the transitioning customers [has] been a little bit more of a challenge," Thodey said.
"In fact it's caused us to go back and re-look at what we're doing now.
"We're very conscious about not putting customers through too much more pain. The decision that we made seemed right and we're going to review where we go to in the future."
Telstra’s decision to put the migration on ice came to light in the wake of series of outages that hit the BigPond email service late last month.
At the time, iTnews asked a Telstra spokesperson whether Microsoft would be liable to pay compensation to Telstra for the outages.
“The problem that occurred was caused by the failure of Telstra’s servers and, as such, any questions about compensation being payable to Telstra by Microsoft wouldn’t seem to be relevant to this issue," the spokesperson said.
Telstra’s original decision to migrate its email boxes to Microsoft’s Windows Live platform was considered controversial, as it would require the email data to be hosted offshore.
However, the change in the migration plan may also indicate Telstra has seen fit to retain greater control over advertising referrals put before its customers.
For instance, Nine Entertainment’s decision to buy Microsoft out of its stake in long running 50-50 joint venture Mi9 (previously ninemsn) will see it lose email advertising referrals that account for 20 to 30 percent of traffic to ninemsn.com.au.
Nine chief David Gyngell told The Australian yesterday that any losses due to the drop in traffic would be offset by its ability to bank 100 percent of the company’s earnings.