Microsoft has ditched Hotmail after 16 years, relaunching the service in favour of the revamped Outlook.com.
Microsoft said its new service, available to preview at Outlook.com, would reimagine the way people use email and be the first major improvement in eight years.
Although it still claims 350 million users worldwide, Hotmail has been usurped as the leading email provider since Google launched Gmail in 2007. Google claims to have signed up 425 million users in the past five years.
According to the web metrics firm ComScore, Hotmail still boasts more traffic than any of its rivals. In June 2012, Hotmail had 324 million monthly visitors, compared to 290 million at Yahoo mail and 278 million at Google’s Gmail.
However, Hotmail users will be invited to transfer their accounts to the Outlook.com portal. The relaunch is part of a wider overhaul of Microsoft’s widely-used software products, including its Windows operating system and Office services.
Microsoft said Outlook.com would offer a less-obtrusive email experience, with fewer display ads and new connections to social networks including Facebook and Twitter.
Users will be able to see status updates from friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter with a new feature on the revamped email site.
“We think the time is right to reimagine email. So today, we’re introducing a preview of Outlook.com,” said Chris Jones, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Live.
“We realised that we needed to take a bold step, break from the past and build you a brand new service from the ground up.”[/quote]
The demise of Hotmail brings to an end one of the earliest great brands of the consumer internet. Microsoft bought Hotmail from the entrepreneurs Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith for a reported a $400m in 1997 – a full decade before Google arrived on the email scene.
Hotmail quickly became known as the younger person’s email service as it was allied with Micrsoft’s instant-messaging platform, MSN Messenger.
After its initial success Hotmail faced intense rivalry in the US and Europe, first from email services from the likes of Yahoo and AOL, and more recently Google, with bigger storage capacity and tidier interfaces.
They are sure to integrate this in windows 8 which is an unified platform for pc tab and also the smartphones. The ui is amazing and it is at par with google if not better. The best part is reading pane which though present on gmail is still in experimentation stage and enabling it is tricky. My friends use gmail without even knowing that reading pane exists in gmail. I think windows is going to bounce back with surface tabs and nokia lumia phones with windows 8. Cant say they same about the pc though the fuctionality of which has been time tested. I dont think it will be useful for people after launch of tabs and laptops i guess will be obsolete.
The UI looks quite good. It feels actually better than gmail. Already registered an ID for my self. I hope they continue to make it even better cause as you move around in the UI, you would find that the integration part is still WIP. Hope to see this integrated into Windows phone just like Google has done with gmail.