This could be huge. Those waiting for calendaring syncing between Hotmail/Windows Live and Microsoft Outlook can rejoice: It looks like it's finally happening (albeit in beta form):

Brief Description

With Microsoft Office Outlook Connector, you can use Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to access and manage your Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail or Microsoft Office Live Mail accounts, including e-mail messages, contacts and calendars for free!

Overview

With Microsoft Office Outlook Connector, you can use Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to access and manage your Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail or Microsoft Office Live Mail accounts, including e-mail messages, contacts and calendars for free!

Outlook Connector enables you to use your Live Hotmail accounts within Outlook:

  • Read and send your Office Live Mail/Windows Live Hotmail e-mail messages.
  • Manage your contacts in Windows Live Hotmail.
  • Use advanced options for blocking junk e-mail messages.
  • Manage multiple e-mail accounts in one place.
  • Manage, and synchronize multiple calendars, including shared calendars to Windows Live Calendar from Outlook.
Note to Premium Subscribers:The Outlook Connector will automatically upgrade your MSN Calendar to the new Windows Live Calendar beta. Once upgraded to Windows Live Calendar, you will be able to synchronize multiple calendars, including shared calendars to Outlook! You will no longer be able to access MSN Calendar.

Very, very interesting. Given the mess Apple has made of MobileMe, this is very good timing, and it looks like Microsoft finally has a complete answer to Google's Gmail/Google Calendar/Gmail Contacts sync. Bravo.

Thanks to Adam T. for the tip!

More info: Use a Windows Live Hotmail account in Outlook (still out of date, noting that calendar sync is paid service-only)