Amazon has launched the Beta version of its Simple Email Service, aimed at businesses and developers.

Amazon SES is being offered as a “highly scalable and cost effective” system for sending bulk email, and is part of the Amazon Web Services portfolio. The system is likely to be viewed by some as a direct approach to customers of Microsoft Exchange and other systems.

The company said the offering help businesses by eliminating “the complexity and expense of building an in-house email solution or licensing, installing, and operating a third-party email service”. It integrates with other Amazon Web Services, and offers email sending from applications hosted on Amazon EC2.

Amazon said there is a “free usage” allowance, followed by “low fees” after businesses reach that limit.

It is offering software development kits for Java and .Net environments, as well as allowing businesses to code to its HTTPS interface directly.

By using SES, businesses could avoid the upfront cost of developing large scale email systems, and eliminate email server management issues. The system also tackles the demands of ISPs around email content standards, by scanning and evaluating message campaigns as they are sent. It also offers bounce-back and spam notification reports