Microsoft has outlaid plans that involve charging people for accessing their email via its email application Outlook.

However Microsoft is not citing the urge to make even more cash, but an attempt to quell the feature being abused by senders of spam says Brooke Richardson, lead product manager for MSN at Microsoft in America.

"Essentially what spammers do is create scripts so they can rapid-fire e-mail from Outlook or Outlook Express and pop off a hundred e-mails from each of those Hotmail accounts in rapid succession," Richardson says. "On certain days we have seen tens of thousands of Hotmail accounts set up and spamming in this matter."

Although current customers will still be able to use there hotmail accounts with Outlook for the time being, they will be urged to upgrade to a subscriber account before the end of April next year when the service will be discontinued. New customers will not have access to the service at all.

The discontinuing of the Outlook service aren't the only changes being made to the account - other deterrents to limit its spam capabilities are a limit on outgoing messages of 100 per day on free accounts and extra validation requirements when signing up in the first place. Microsoft has also said that it will continue with its 30 day usage policy whereby users to fail to log in over a 30 period will automatically lose their account.