Amazon launches WorkMail, an email hosting service for businesses

Amazon gets into corporate email

Amazon Inc. plans to sell email technology to businesses beginning later this year as it tries to keep pace with competitors in the cloud computing industry.

Besides selling books, groceries and gadgets, Amazon operates stacks of computers around the world that store the data needed to make online services from thousands of other companies work. It counts Netflix, Spotify and Expedia as customers.

Microsoft, Google, IBM and dozens of major technology companies offer a similar technology service, sometimes with extra features like email accounts and online document sharing thrown in. Now, Amazon is offering its computing infrastructure to make corporate email work too. Forbes first reported on the service Tuesday.

Amazon wouldn’t replace Outlook, Mail, Thunderbird or other email browsing apps, but Amazon would handle, invisibly to users, the online transmission and storage of their emails.

The service announced Tuesday is called WorkMail and includes features that address security concerns. Emails would be encrypted, decreasing the chance of a hacker being able to read them. Digital copies of emails would be stored in countries of a company’s choosing, which could limit the ability of law enforcement agencies to request access to them.

WorkMail will be part of the Amazon Web Services unit, which together with some other products made up more than 6% of the online retailer’s revenue in the first nine months of last year. Amazon reports sales for the last three months of 2014 on Thursday.

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