Skip to main content

Bye bye Hotmail: leaves preview, gathers 60 million users in six months

outlookMicrosoft announced Monday its new web-based email service,, is now out of preview mode and open to all.

“Today is a major milestone in our mission to provide people everywhere with the world’s best email experience,” David Law,’s director of product management, wrote in a blog post.

Related Videos

Besides webmail, also offers social networking functionality, cloud storage in the form of its SkyDrive facility, and Office Web Apps – a web-based version of its Office software. Similar in many ways to Gmail with its plethora of related web-based services, Microsoft will be doing what it can to attract the attention of users of Google’s service.

Indeed, Law added that the Redmond-based company is gearing up for the launch of a global marketing campaign highlighting, which has already racked up 60 million users in seven months.’s uncluttered design, familiar to users of Windows 8, is a vast improvement on Hotmail’s dated look, and with new features such as Sweep (for clearing Inboxes of unwanted content) and the ability to send photo slideshows from your Inbox, it’s certainly a step in the right direction for Microsoft’s webmail service.

According to Law, some users have “expressed appreciation” that reduces the number of on-screen ads, using the extra space for Facebook and Twitter updates. “On average, people saw 60 percent fewer ads when using because they’re now getting much more relevant updates from their friends,” Law wrote.


Since launching last summer, Microsoft has been gently prompting users of its old service, Hotmail, to switch to the new interface. In doing so, such users retain their Hotmail address, though they’re also offered the chance to claim an address too. The company plans to have all Hotmail account holders using by the summer.

Some Hotmail users, particularly those of a nostalgic bent, may be sad to see it finally go. While it enjoyed huge popularity in the late 90s, Google’s Gmail service, which launched in 2004, became hugely popular with web users, and now has around 425 million users. Once all of Microsoft’s Hotmail users have migrated over to, the company will be able to boast somewhere in the region of 300 million users. Yahoo, another big player in the webmail space, currently has around 280 million users.

As part of Microsoft’s overhaul of its web-based services, it’s also shuttering Messenger and moving users over to Skype, which it acquired in 2011.

Editors' Recommendations

How to easily log in to multiple Gmail accounts at once
woman sitting and using laptop

Have you found yourself rapidly accumulating Gmail accounts? Between work, school, and any personal accounts you may have created, it's completely reasonable to have three (or more) Google accounts that need to be checked regularly.

Read more
How to block an email address in Gmail

Email is a powerful tool in the modern world. It’s used not only for professional correspondence but also for a variety of other purposes, including messages from your school or university, keeping in touch with distant friends or family, sending digital files, or just generally keeping track of your online accounts and purchases. The ease of sending email, and the fact that many people have more than one email address, means your inbox(es) can quickly fill with spam.

While you can unsubscribe from mailing lists through Google, you might still receive unwanted emails. Gmail users who want to shut out this noise can do so with just a few clicks. Here’s how to block an email address in Gmail.

Read more
How to sync your Outlook Calendar with your Google Calendar
aop version 28 best value 15 inch laptops

While Facebook does a good job bogging down your calendar(s) with every birthday under the sun, keeping track of everything else can be a difficult juggle, especially if you use more than one platform. An appointment entered on an Android phone likely won’t appear in Outlook automatically.

Read more