Australia’s biggest telco switching email to Windows Live?

Australia’s  biggest telco is considering migrating customers of its BigPond Internet service provider division from their own in house versions of email, photos and online storage to Windows Live, according to a post on Australian tech site Delimiter.

Delimiter quotes Telstra spokesperson Craig Middleton, saying that it has been talking to customers for some time about evolving their current email platform:

“One of the options we’re considering is to integrate our email services with Microsoft’s Windows Live Suite platform to offer new applications and services to our customers,” Middleton said. The executive stipulated the idea was “only a proposal” at the moment, with several options for the future of the email platform being considered — although he couldn’t say what other paths Telstra was looking at.

Telstra wouldn’t move everything “to the cloud” apparently, maintaining a duplicate bare bones version of its platform “to allow it to meet law enforcement requests for email interception from Australian authorities”:

According to sources, Telstra would retain control of the systems which manage the usernames of its customers, as well as account and password management functions. However, it would shut down the current in-house systems which provide customers with online photo and file storage, blogging and even anti-spam functions under the banner, in favour of migrating to the equivalent Windows Live options.

Windows Live extends beyong just email; it’s a comprehensive suite of online offerings providing web, POP and SMTP access to users’ email, online storage and file synchronisation through the SkyDrive and Mesh products, hosted blogging through, calendaring, photo gallery and instant messaging functionality and even contact, calendar and task syncronisation through Microsoft ActiveSync.

According to Delimiter, while exact figures for Telstra’s customer email inboxes aren’t known, the company is “known to have 2.2 million DSL subscribers alone, and many more customers using its HFC and mobile networks”.