Microsoft replaces Hotmail with Outlook.com
New cloud mail service intended to be easier to use, better connected
Microsoft has announced an overhaul of its free email service Hotmail.
The service has been rebranded as Outlook.com, and Microsoft describes is as reimaging of personal email, and "modern email designed for the next billion mailboxes".
Microsoft HoTMaiL was originally launched in 1996, and had around 369m users by March 2011.
The new design is intended to reduce clutter in inboxes, and be easier to use, with an interface more inline with Microsoft Office Outlook, and to work better on mobile devices.
Microsoft says that 50% of email in a typical inbox today is newsletters, and another 20% is social network updates. To manage this, Outlook.com will have a cleaner interface with more visibility of messages, rules to better organize emails, and automatic connection to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google, with Skype to follow
Outlook.com will also include Microsoft's Office Web Apps, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, so that users can view and edit attachments in the inbox. Outlook.com also incorporates Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage solution, with 7GB of storage.
Chris Jones, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows Live commented: "We think the time is right to re-imagine personal email, from the data centre to the user experience. So today we're introducing a preview of Outlook.com."
Current Hotmail users can upgrade to Outlook.com through existing Hotmail accounts, and a preview is available at Outlook.com.