Microsoft is set to phase out its hotmail service after 16 years, in favour of the new-look outlook service. The software giant renamed its email service Outlook as part of an overhaul to make its free email more user-friendly, giving it a sharp look and social network links. Further, it will have additional new features for handling junk mail and sorting messages as they arrive.
Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Live, Chris Jones, said in a blog: ‘A lot has changed in the last eight years and we think it’s time for a fresh look at email. We are giving you the first email service that is connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and soon, Skype, to bring relevant context and communications to your email. In the Outlook.com inbox, your personal email comes alive with photos of your friends, recent status updates and tweets that your friend has shared with you, the ability to chat and video call – all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks.’
Microsoft is offering the service as a preview for the time being and has not announced an official release date. It will advise users to upgrade but Hotmail subscribers can stick with the old system if they prefer. Those who change to the new system keep their @hotmail, @msn or @live.com email address suffix but can also add an @outlook.com address to their account.
Although the new features and the social network linkage add a new flavor to the emailing experience, whether it can take over other email service giants like Gmail and Yahoo remains to be seen.