R.I.P. Hotmail: Outlook has officially taken over

hotmailIt is, sadly, time to call it: Microsoft’s Hotmail is no more, and all accounts have been upgraded to the new Outlook platform according to a blog post from Microsoft.

In the post, the company’s Outlook group program manager Dick Craddock revealed that more than 300 million Hotmail accounts had been transferred to Outlook in just six weeks. “When Outlook.com came out of preview in February, it already had more than 60 million active accounts. However, Hotmail was still one of the most widely used services, with over 300 million active accounts. This made the magnitude of the process incredible, maybe even unprecedented,” Craddock wrote. “This meant communicating with hundreds of millions of people, upgrading all their mailboxes – equaling more than 150 million gigabytes of data – and making sure that every person’s mail, calendar, contacts, folders, and personal preferences were preserved in the upgrade.”

Although the majority of former Hotmail users were reportedly pleased with their new email service, there wasn’t acclaim across the board. “Of course, whenever a widely-used consumer service makes any substantial change, there will always be some folks that don’t like it, and that shows up in the feedback, too,” Craddock admitted, adding that such negative feedback was “gratifying in a sense because it means those customers loved the previous set of changes we made.”

Rather than suggest that people are outright complaining about Outlook, Craddock cites that said uncertainty comes from unfamiliarity with the new platform and suggests some answers to concerns. While no email address changes are necessary – Hotmail users can keep their “@hotmail.com” addresses – and no settings on mobile devices need to be changed to access the new email account.

“We want to give a huge ‘Thank you’ to all of you who have supported Hotmail over the years, for some of you, that’s going back as far as 1996,” Craddock wrote. “It has been an amazing journey and we’ve been honored to provide you with a great mail experience for many years.”

As someone who was using Hotmail back in 1996, I feel a twinge of sadness at this moment of Web history passing into the great server in the sky. Alas, there is also a twinge of confusion. Who is still using Hotmail in this day and age anyway? Hadn’t everyone moved over to Yahoo and Gmail, years ago? If you’re still on Hotmail, how do you feel about the shift?

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