TechCrunch has discovered that Facebook’s mail.thefacebook.com domain currently points to an Outlook Web App login prompt.
The discovery is timely as Facebook is rumored to be preparing an Email service for its 500 million users. Winrumors reported earlier that Microsoft will be supplying Office Web Apps for use on Facebook. Insiders also suggested that the partnership could be further reaching with Exchange ActiveSync support.
Microsoft and Facebook have been partnering on a number of technologies recently. The software giant has a long standing advertising partnership that saw it invest a $240 million equity stake in Facebook back in 2007. In October Facebook announced a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine to provide social integration. Users of Bing now see social powered search results that incorporate information that their friends have liked on Facebook. Microsoft and Facebook also revealed Docs.com earlier this year. The site is built on a stripped down version of Microsoft’s Office 2010 Web Apps platform. The service can be used to share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents with Facebook friends.
Facebook appears to have also taken control of fb.com which could be the domain for its email service. It’s not yet clear whether Facebook will use Outlook Web Apps for all 500 million users or whether the service is enabled just for Facebook staff. All will become clear on Monday when Facebook hold a special press event to announce its Email plans.
Update: TechCrunch have confirmed that this is employee email. Microsoft is still expected to supply Office Web Apps for Facebook’s Email service.