Microsoft damped Hotmail

Microsoft has decided to retire a brand which has been with it for the last 15 years – free Internet-based email service Hotmail. The company took a decision to fold it in under the familiar name of Outlook.

Indeed, Hotmail was one of the first popular Internet mail services, but later had to face the competition from Yahoo, AOL, and Google’s Gmail. This move looks like an attempt to consolidate the company’s consumer and workplace brands: although Hotmail used to be an all powerful force on the Internet, and there are still a lot of active users, Redmond is about the simplistic approach in Windows 8 and decided to bring two brands in under a single and well-known name.

Press reports confirm that Microsoft wants to bring in a product refresh for a brand which has not seen changes for many years. Redmond is going to tie it in closer to other Microsoft services, like the Google and Apple models, thus introducing a central point for contacts, email, and non-Microsoft related services, such as Facebook and Twitter.

In the meantime, the Outlook.com update shows an address book which brings in contacts from the 3rd party services like Gmail, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Like Google, Microsoft is going to include a cloud storage service tied in with Outlook.com. The industry experts point out that the software giant seems to take a direct shot at Google, promising that it wouldn’t show advertisements that fit with email considered “creepy” by the company. It is clear that Microsoft is riding the coattails of the privacy concerns surrounding Google and other Internet services, claiming they believe that “privacy matters”.

As for Hotmail, it will continue working for now, but all of its users will be offered the option to transfer to Outlook.com, while keeping their current usernames. In the meantime, emails sent to Hotmail accounts will be automatically forwarded to Outlook.com. Gradually, the software giant is going to move all Hotmail users to another service.

The experts are agree that the entire move looks like an effort to push a unified, simplified feel for Microsoft’s new oncoming Windows 8 and the Metro interface. The press also adds that this move is going along with the consumerisation of IT trend. It’s up to the users whether to move to Outlook now or wait a bit, but everybody will end up there, after all.

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