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02 August 2012

Hotmail becomes Outlook.com In Radical Microsoft Overhaul

Once again Microsoft has given us some interesting news: the company said Tuesday that it is converting Hotmail, the world's largest web based email service, into a new Outlook - Outlook.com.

Hotmail first for many
Hotmail was launched in 1996 and bought by Microsoft the year after, and today this free e-mail service has over 320 million users around the globe. Many of us have had a hotmail address as our first e-mail address, and today that feels very long ago. I think Microsoft wants to give the service a more modern name, that does not give these "old-fashioned" associations. And what could be more suitable than to take advantage of Outlook, their dominant e-mail software?

Better user interface and social integration
Hotmail's biggest competitor, G-mail, has better integration with social media and a nicer user interface than the current Hotmail, but that is something Microsoft has decided to change. Therefore Outlook com will have great possibilities to interact with social media like Facebook or Twitter, and the new interface is clean with a calm blue default color.
Outlook.com screenshot
Advertisements
In Outlook.com Microsoft will restrict advertisements to text messages on the right hand side of the screen, and there will be no ads at all for person-to-person messages. The Hotmail ads are placed right in the page so that users are forced to look at them, and this has probably made many turn away from Hotmail. With the ads to the right you never actually have to see them. At least I have learned to completely ignore the ads of Facebook, which also are placed on the right side!

Unsubscribe button
Something I like in Outlook.com is the unsubscribe button. For emails that Outlook recognizes as an ad, it will add a universal unsubscribe button to the message. When it is clicked, Microsoft will unsubscribe to further e-mails via the retailer and also automatically filter any future promotions into the trash if the unsubscribe is ignored.

At kalmstrom.com Business Solutions we feel that e-mail promotions are outdated anyway. Nowadays people make active choices by subscribing to blogs and following organizations in social media, and we will therefore rely on those channels for information in the future and stop sending out monthly newsletters.

Slow transition
Microsoft will not rush or force users into Outlook.com. Instead a growing number of Hotmail users will  be invited to test Outlook.com during the next few months, and there is no deadline for the final goodbye to Hotmail. Current Hotmail users will be able to keep their @hotmail.com or @live.com addresses, but new users can only choose between @outlook.com or @live.com.

Will Outlook.com affect kalmstrom.com?Calendar Browser icon
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions has never aimed for Hotmail when developing the Outlook-addins which we have marketed for nearly as long as Hotmail has existed. It has however always been possible to
TimeCard iconuse our applications with Hotmail, as the client installed parts of our products can use Hotmail instead of  Exchange. In the short run Outlook.com will probably only affect us by making the name Outlook even more well known, but who knows what the future will bring?
Folder HelpDesk icon
Today kalmstrom.com has no plans on developing especially for Outlook.com, but we want to develop for web based platforms and Outlook.com is undoubtedly one of them. As usual we follow the Microsoft development closely.HelpDesk OSP icon

If you want to know more about Outlook.com I can recommend a Mashable Tech article by Peter Pachal.