Outlook.com: Microsoft’s challenge to Gmail?

The net is abuzz with the news that Microsoft has revamped its Hotmail service and renamed it Outlook.com, and the changes are not merely superficial either. Outlook.com follows the current trend of presenting a minimal interface, or as Microsoft labels it… “clean” and “intuitive”. Skydrive and social media are fully integrated, with plans to also include Skype at some time in the near future, and Outlook.com accounts can be synced across a variety of devices.

We think the time is right to reimagine email. So today, we’re introducing a preview of Outlook.com. We realized that we needed to take a bold step, break from the past and build you a brand new service from the ground up. Outlook is designed cloud first, so all of your mail is always available wherever you are. Its fresh, clean user interface gets the clutter out of your way-the header has 60% fewer pixels and there are 30% more messages visible in your inbox than the webmail most people are used to. And there are no display ads or large search boxes that take up extra space. Outlook.com also uses Exchange ActiveSync, so it powers your mail, calendar and people experience on your smartphone and tablet.

Outlook.com is currently in preview mode, once it exits the test phase it will replace Hotmail’s user interface altogether, although users will still be able to retain their @hotmail.com, @live.com and @msn.com addresses as well as contacts, messages, password and any rules.

While today’s preview is just the start, Outlook.com is ready now to become your primary email service. We’re expecting millions of people to try it out. Starting today, you can get an @Outlook.com email address, and we’ve also made it easy to get started with your current email address if you want to.

It is indeed a very simple process for existing Hotmail users to switch over to the new service. Simply go to Outlook.com and sign in using your normal Hotmail credentials. The Outlook.com interface will open and you’ll see this new message:

Click on the “Get new ID” link and then type your preferred address name into the box provided:

Shortly after creating your new Outlook.com address you will then receive this message:

More than 1 million signups already:

Microsoft’s motivation here is obviously two-fold; to bring its webmail service inline with the new look and philosophies adopted for Windows 8, and to rival Google’s popular Gmail. If early figures are any indication, Outlook.com may well mount a respectable challenge – Microsoft has reported more than one million signups in just six hours after the preview went live.


4 thoughts on “Outlook.com: Microsoft’s challenge to Gmail?”

  1. Is this an upgrade to Outlook Express? I have never been excited about “cloud” as I am suspect of safety with it. My husband uses Outlook Express and I use Outlook. Our email is also a domain. Do I even need to consider this? Thanks for the help. I hardly use facebook or twitter. Only to see what my two kids and Granddaugher and a couple friends are doing. Thanks for any clarification you fee inclined to give. You have helped me a lot in the past. Thanks again.

    1. Hey TT – Outlook.com is a webmail service, similar to Gmail and Yahoo, which can be accessed direct on any PC or mobile device via a browser. It’s totally different to Outlook Express and Outlook which are both client software and need to be installed separately on each PC or device.

      So, the short answer is no, you do not even need to consider it.
      Cheers… Jim

  2. Outlook.com looks like a great alternative to gmail but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they would not support IMAP?

    I don’t understand the brainstorming behind that.

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