Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Why Amazon Is Getting Into Business E-Mail

WorkMail will offer sophisticated encryption and take on e-mail giants Microsoft and Google

Amazon’s approach to the consumer world has been to introduce as many products and services as possible, in the hope that customers will use them all once they are in Amazon's ecosystem. The company clearly sees the business market in the same way with its announcement today of WorkMail, which will bolster its cloud computing dominance and take on e-mail leaders Microsoft and Google.

The e-mail and calendar service, which the company first discussed in an article on the Forbes website, will charge businesses $4 a month per user for a 50-gigabyte mailbox. It can be bundled with the company’s existing Zocalo file storage service for an additional $2 monthly, according to Forbes. The service will also encrypt messages and will work with existing e-mail applications, including Microsoft's Outlook. 

Microsoft and Google already offer enterprise e-mail and other services and compete with Amazon in cloud computing, in which companies buy server space rather than building their own data centers.

But while Amazon dominates the cloud business, it will be playing catch-up with Microsoft's Outlook and Google's Gmail, which are already deeply entrenched at companies across the globe.

“You’re coming into a very established place with only two major competitors,” said David Mitchell Smith of market research firm Gartner. “They’re not coming in at the leadership position, that’s for sure.” 

That has never stopped Amazon before. And in a time when hacking and security issues are a growing concern in the business world, a new service with an express emphasis on privacy could make a dent in the e-mail game while bringing more customers into the Amazon fold.

The only surprise here is why it took Amazon so long.