Tag: hotmail

Hotmail shut down, Outlook.com now up to 400 million users

With a final tweet, the Hotmail shut down is a fact. It was sent out a few days ago, urging everyone to follow the @outlook Twitter account:

hotmail_shut_down_last_tweet

Launched back in July 1996 (as HoTMaiL, capitalization because of HTML in its name), Hotmail became one of the most used free webmail services in the world. Microsoft bought the service in 1997 for $400 million.

Here’s what the classic interface looked like:

Hotmail_shut_down_old_screenshot

Back in 2012, it was one of the largest free webmail services with about 360 million users. At the time, Gmail was getting ahead at 425 million users. Outlook.com was introduced in July 2012, and afterwards officially launched in February this year. Now it’s June, and Outlook.com has fully replaced the Hotmail webmail service. The Hotmail shut down means an end to an era that lasted over 16 years.

If you were on the internet before 2000, chances are you registered a Hotmail email address at some time or another. Whether it was a throwaway address, a personal address or a group inbox: it was there, accessible anywhere.  After a while though, having a Hotmail address came with a certain reputation. Not too serious, stuck in old times and such. The Oatmeal even made a comic about it: what your email address says about your computer skills.

With the Hotmail shut down and it being replaced with Outlook.com, Microsoft is looking to make the service get a better, more professional reputation than Hotmail. Regardless of the Hotmail shut down, marketing campaigns like Scroogled won’t help them in being taken seriously.

Last month, The official Outlook blog announced that Outlook.com had reached 400 million users. They migrated a staggering 150 petabytes of email in just 6 weeks. The new Outlook.com look is less shiny and colorful (remember the gradients in Hotmail?), to help you focus on getting your emails done. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that all accounts would be migrated by this summer: it seems they’ve reached that goal with the 400 million active accounts announcement.

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Hotmail accounts all switching to Outlook.com by this summer

Microsoft has noted on the official Outlook Blog that all current Hotmail accounts that have not switched to Outlook.com yet will be upgraded by this summer.

In the past six months since its introduction, Outlook.com has grown to an impressive amount of 60 million people actively using the webmail client.

 

outlook_com_email_client

 

The blog post further notes that the Outlook.com team had a certain vision for the new client:

  • Delivering a beautiful, fresh and intuitive experience on modern browsers and devices
  • Keeping people connected to their friends and co-workers across the networks they really use
  • Providing a smart and powerful inbox to handle today’s email needs, including SkyDrive for sharing virtually anything in a single email
  • Putting people in control by prioritizing their privacy

The team has been happy to see people connect their accounts to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as receiving feedback on getting fewer ads and see them replaced with updates from the aforementioned social networks.

 

Another interesting bit is about the typical Outlook.com inbox contents: about 80% of that inbox consists of newsletters and commercial email, quite a large portion! To keep inboxes manageable, the Sweep function (cleaning up old(er) messages automatically) is noted to be well used and well received by users.

If you haven’t upgraded your Hotmail account to Outlook.com yet, you now know it will happen automatically by this summer. The old Hotmail served us well all those years, right?

old_hotmail

Read the full post with more details on the Outlook Blog here.

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Microsoft bashing Gmail with Scroogled website

It has been a bit quiet on the webmail-front lately, but Microsoft is heating up the battle with Scroogled, a new website dedicated to bashing Google’s Gmail.

The website looks like this:

microsoft_scroogled_gmail_google_website

As you can see, it’s making fun of the colorful Google logo, and bashes Gmail for looking for keywords in emails to provide targeted ads.

The Scroogled website is offering a petition to have Google stop going through emails for keywords, as well as promoting Outlook.com as a better webmail service.

Scroogled videos

On the website there are also two videos available to tell how bad Google is, including a part of Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman, quoted saying the following:

“We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are, with your permission; we know where you’ve been, with your permission; we can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

Here’s the first video:

The second video shows a man and a woman discussing email, where the woman notes that Google goes through his email, and he admits being Scroogled:

The website was down for a short while yesterday actually, only giving a web server error to visitors:

scroogled_down

 

Remember my previous post about the webmail wars? The Gmail Man was part of that story, but Microsoft seems to be taking it up a notch with Scroogled this time, really focusing on that privacy issue: apparently they feel it’s a very big deal. Privacy is important of course, but the way Gmail works is just the way Google search works: with keywords. Will Microsoft be bashing Google Search next because they display ads based on your search queries and promote Bing?

As one Twitter user puts it, he’s not impressed:

 

I wonder what the actual purpose is behind the ‘Have you been Scroogled?’ website – besides of course having people switch over to Outlook.com. Bashing competitors in advertising is nothing new, and especially in the US they’re a fan, however this campaign might come across as childish and lame and work against Microsoft’s intentions. Time will tell.

 

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Litmus email stats: Hotmail/Yahoo down, Gmail up

Litmus has posted a new overview of email stats on their website, including a blog post getting into detail.

The new email stats show that Gmail usage has increased, while both Hotmail/Outlook.com as well as Yahoo! have slipped.

In general usage of mobile, desktop and webmail clients, mobile has dropped slightly, while desktop has been increasing. Even so, mobile still commands a 42% market share lead.

email_client_market_share

Here are some specific findings about the email stats:

  • Opens in Gmail have seen a 25% increase over the last year
  • Hotmail and Yahoo! have each seen about a 4% drop
  • Outlook.com just appeared on the scene in late 2012, and represents less than 1% of market share

 

Justine Jordan of Litmus discusses the latest rankings in this video:

 

Here’s something to check with your email marketing statistics whether or not they agree with the above Gmail stat or not: single out all your Gmail.com list subscribers and send one of your email campaigns to that list separately. Check how the open rate is, compared to the general open rate of the complete list. I wonder whether it’s higher or not than that general open rate. Gmail users tend to be more interacting with email than for instance Hotmail, AOL or Yahoo! users, so it would be cool if this is true for your own list.

You can read the whole post on the Litmus blog here.

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Outlook.com team does AMA on Reddit

A few monthts ago, the team behind the new Outlook.com webmail service did an AMA on Reddit. I thought it would be nice to highlight the questions and answers they received from the audience there.

Here’s a small portion of the Q&A – most asked questions:

T+8 days edit: Lots of questions about upgrading Hotmail accounts to Outlook.com – here’s a demystifying blog post: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-outlook/archive/2012/08/03/upgrade-from-hotmail-to-outlook-com.aspx

Lots of questions about IMAP Here’s our thinking on IMAP: IMAP is an old protocol that supports only mail syncing (not calendar and people). Nowadays, EAS is simply a better protocol. It’s fast, battery-efficient, and syncs mail, calendar, people and tasks. All modern phones support EAS, including iPhone, Android, Windows Phone. So, EAS is our long-term bet, and we just prioritized getting it out there before “going backwards” and working on IMAP. Nonetheless, we recognize that IMAP is widely implemented in clients, and that there are people that expect it in a mail service. We think IMAP is good for two things:

(1) supporting legacy phones and clients that don’t have EAS support

(2) supporting developers who want an API to access email.

We think both those things are important, and so I expect we’ll support IMAP for Outlook sometime down the line (I can’t comment on release dates, blah, blah, blah). Building software means making tradeoffs, and we prioritized other things over IMAP. We’ll get there. If IMAP is really, really important to you, you should wait to upgrade. Also, a special note for Mac users: We know our client support on the Mac isn’t great and we’re working on it.

We’ve got to wind down – we’ll definitely try to have more discussions like these. Follow @outlook on Twitter for updates.

Again, THANK YOU for the comments.

tl;dr – we’re the engineers and product managers from Microsoft behind the new Outlook.com email service – ask us anything.

(We’ll be here from 11 to 1 PM Pacific)

Hey reddit – today we launched a new email service – the Outlook.com Preview – and we’re interested in hearing from you. We’ve got about 20 members of the team on the technical and marketing side here to take feedback.

We learned a lot when the Hotmail team took to reddit 18 months ago – brand, ads, performance, and spam came to the top – and we used that to help inform our decisions with this new service. We designed it to:

  • have a modern, fast UI
  • be connected to your networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and soon, Skype)
  • have smart tools to manage and filter messages
  • prioritize your privacy (we don’t serve ads based on the contents of your email)

If you’ve not had a chance to check out the service, go to www.outlookpreview.com to learn more.

Thanks a ton.

e: Proof! http://twitter.com/Outlook/status/230361041924669440

e2: If you’re interested in some long-form reading, our blog has a ton of information about the background and why we think this is neat http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-outlook/archive/2012/07/31/introducing-outlook-com-modern-email-for-the-next-billion-mailboxes.aspx

e3: here’s a makeshift FAQ:

WHY to try/switch from Gmail:

Gmail is 8 years old now, and we think it’s time for something new. We focused on a clean modern UI, making your email connected to the services you really use, like Facebook and Twitter, making you more productive with Newsletters, Schedule Cleanup, Office integration and more. And, finally, we think your privacy is really important, so we don’t scan your email to show you ads, and we never show you ads when reading mail from friends and family. Check out more here: www.outlookpreview.com

…and HOW to try/switch from Gmail:

Switching is as easy as setting up forwarding in Gmail, and you can also POP agg your old mail into your new account. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/outlook/compare-gmail?woldogcb=0

How to rename a current Windows Live account:

Head to http://mail.live.com/?rru=renameaccount - and if you want to upgrade to Outlook.com from Hotmail, there’s a link in the options to the top right of the inbox.

e4: Over a million signups in under 24 hours! http://twitter.com/Outlook/status/230427048919851008/photo/1

 


You can read the whole conversation here on Reddit.

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