Telstra: Microsoft's Windows Live email is not as good as we thought

Telstra: Microsoft's Windows Live email is not as good as we thought

Summary: Eighteen months after Telstra took the plunge to move its BigPond customers to Windows Live email, issues have forced the company to take another look at the platform.


Telstra CEO David Thodey said in the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday that the decision to move the company's BigPond customers to Microsoft's Windows Live email service is not performing as well as anticipated.

Responding to a shareholder's question, the CEO said that the move had been straightforward for new users of the service, but issues had been seen in existing customers that had been on the service when it moved to the Microsoft platform in February last year.

"It's caused us to go back and relook at what we're doing now," Thodey said.

"The background to the decision was that we had built our own email platform ... and we were challenged to keep it up to date with the sort of functionality we thought we'd need to have in an integrated messaging world."

"So we took the decision to white-label, in effect, the Microsoft platform."

"It's been OK, but not as good as we thought it was going to be."

Thodey said that due to the issues encountered with the switch, the company will be reviewing any future plans.

"The decision when we made it seemed right, and we are going to review where we go to in the future."

NBN contracts

Earlier in the AGM, Telstra reiterated its previous statements that it would be focused on maintaining shareholder value should any renegotiation of its AU$11 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) agreement occur following NBN Co's 60-day review, which is expected to report in early December.

"A move to predominantly use fibre to the node in the rollout of the NBN could result in the renegotiation of some aspects of our Definitive Agreements," said Telstra chairperson Catherine Livingstone.

"In the meantime, Telstra will continue to fulfil the obligations set out for us in the existing agreements, and continue to work constructively with the government and NBN Co in the best interests of our shareholders."

Last month, Thodey called for a quick resolution to any renegotiation between Telstra and NBN Co.

The existing arrangement between Telstra and NBN Co gives NBN Co access to Telstra's pit and ducts infrastructure for the NBN rollout, and pays Telstra each time a customer is transferred over from the copper network onto the NBN.

For NBN Co to switch from a fibre-to-the-premises network to a fibre-to-the-node network, the deal would have to be restructured to give NBN Co access to the last section of Telstra's cooper line from the node to the premises.

Remediation work for the NBN was suspended earlier this year, with the discovery of poor asbestos handling practices.

Addressing the issue today, Thodey said that asbestos was not a new issue.

"We have known about asbestos, carefully tracked its management, and extensively trained staff, with well-established safety procedures in place for employees and contractors," he said.

"Remediation work on our pits stopped as soon as we identified concerns with the work practices used by some of our contractors. We have taken steps to absolutely minimise the risk of such incidents occurring again."

"Our priority has been — and remains — the safety of our employees, contractors, and the general public."

The CEO said that the asbestos issues have made no impact on the company's financials.

The company forecast "low single-digit" growth in revenue and profit, with capital expenditure to be maintained at 15 percent of sales due to the build out of the company's 4G network and completing the NBN transit network.

Telstra reported that its cloud services had grown by 33 percent last financial year, and the company would be looking to continue that growth by making acquisitions and investments in datacentres.

Topics: Cloud, Microsoft, Telstra, Australia


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • Well at least he is honest

    in admitting the mistake.
  • ???

    But what's the reason?
    Worthless article...
    • He stated.

      It was not performing up to expectations.
      "It's been OK, but not as good as we thought it was going to be."
      Or are you asking about the NBN?
      I hate trolls also
      • "I have troll also"... I hate morons...

        Your comment doesn't pin point WHAT THEIR PROBLEMS WERE WITH THE PLATFORM!

        Try again!
        • Wow, what an overreaction

          to someone who was simply trying to be helpful.

          A fair,y obvious reason why no-one can provide further information is that Thodey said nothing more, thereby proving no further insights.
  • Question

    So what did Telstra thought MS live email would be and what part did disappoint them?
    Without such information entire article is pointless. What do people expect from email that could disappoint them? Availability? Mailbox size? Format? Speed? Price?
    Or maybe more importantly NAME? Anything from microsoft is considered not cool nowadays? Poor blokes then :)
    • what Telstra thought

      Obviously, that the platform of the great Microsoft would be better than their homegrown.

      They discovered, that another homegrown platform was not better than theirs. No surprises here. Just hype.
  • Telstra: Microsoft's Windows Live email is not as good as we thought

    They did say its working fine for new users. Must be something on their end for the existing customers. Doesn't give much detail about the problems encountered and if they worked with Microsoft to resolve them.
    • What an extraordinarily disingenous statement!

      "They did say its working fine for new users."

      Thodey made no such comment!

      You just made-up this alleged statement so that you could continue to feel good about MS.

      You are not in Australia. You have never used Telstra's offering from MS. You have not a clue what you are talking about.

      On the other hand, I DO live in Australia. I am with Telstra. And I am forced to use the second-rate service that Telstra offers through MS whilst ever I continue to be with Telstra!

      You really need to have a long hard look at yourself and try reconcile you love MS. IT is quite alright to like a company and its products, but to worship one the way that you do verges on a psychopathy.
  • Windows Live e-mail?

    You mean the one that isn't called Windows Live e-mail anymore? Their problems stemmed from transitioning existing users to it, which they should have tested before they jumped. What they're saying is, "we are clueless how to do a migration." Might try a glimpse in the mirror.
    • an easier explanation

      1. You have an existing platform and users who are happy with it.

      2. For some reason (bribe?) you decide to change platforms.

      3. New users, not knowing how good the platform was are happy, because they believe this is what it can be.

      4. Old users are unhappy, because they see the new platform is worse and complain.

      Morale: If you have something working, don't throw it our but improve it. Don't buy the Microsoft hype. Microsoft are new to internet and email. There is plenty they need to learn.
  • you are all missing the point...

    ...the main issue here is that by giving US MS servers access to their Australian customers data they are exposing them to happy times like potential NSA and DoJ jolly data vacuuming japes... and the devious bastards didn't even tell their customers about that until they were exposed, to massive reaction down here. Thodey and Telstra care about their customers as long as they can gouge them with pathetic mobile packages, but don't give a hoot about their security...
    • None of your stupid statements explain the real reasons that Telstra

      said that Live mail wasn't performing to expectations. In fact, nobody has explained where MS Live mail wasn't performing according to expectations. It might be that Telstra is pointing go Live e-mail as a scapegoat for the company's poor performance.