Hotmail to be replaced by Outlook.com
Microsoft has announced a major update to its consumers’ email platform.
Hotmail, acquired by Microsoft in 1998, is one of the largest email services in the world with more that 280 million active accounts.
Hotmail will now be rebranded as Outlook.com with a preview of the new service being launched today.
Chris Jones, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Live, said: “The time is right to reimagine email.
“We realised that we needed to take a bold step, break from the past and build you a brand new service.”
Hotmail customers will be given the option to upgrade to the new preview and to create an additional or replacement email address at Outlook.com.
The new interface provides a much cleaner design to the existing Hotmail product. The new designed is based on the “metro” look used for Windows 8 and the Windows phone.
The new service will make it easier to filter out the so-called “grey mail” – email newsletters and circulars that users have signed up for but are not personalised. There will also be enhanced features for social networking.
Outlook.com will provide Microsoft with the chance to make up the ground it has lost to Google’s Gmail. The Hotmail brand had been seen as tarnished and dated with many technically sophisticated users seeing Gmail as the go to provider for webmail.
In what could be seen as a swipe at Google, Mr Jones said: ”We don’t scan your email content or attachments and sell this information to advertisers or any other company, and we don’t show ads in personal conversations. We let you decide whether to connect your account to social networks, and which ones you want to use.” Google use email content to provide Gmail users with more relevant advertisements.
While Microsoft advises users to upgrade, it also said they can remain on the existing system for now.