Redmond, Washington -- In the midst of discarding the preview tag, software behemoth Microsoft is touting a new milestone as it continues its attempts to lure users away from Google's Gmail. The Redmond giant announced on its blog that Outlook.com, the company's new free Internet-based email service, has flourished to 60 million users since launching in “preview” at the end of July, the company will now start phasing out its Hotmail and begin moving users over to its new product, according to the software giant.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker announced Tuesday that its Outlook.com Internet-based e-mail service has moved out of its preview stage and is now available globally. In fact, Outlook.com is Microsoft's most courageous e-mail venture since Google launched Gmail in 2004 and a clear answer to it.
More so, the service, which now boasts from around 60 million active users since it was unleashed last July, will soon end its beta run and move on to upgrade Hotmail users to the new service, David Law, director of product management at Outlook.com, wrote in a blog post on Monday.
“It has been just over 6 months since the Outlook.com preview was rolled out and the reception to date has greatly surpassed our expectations; over 60 million people already actively using Outlook.com,” Law, wrote in a blog post. “This number represents people that sign in several times a month via the web, client, or smart phone to really use our service.”
Confirming the same, even Microsoft officially stated to the media world on Tuesday that all users of the company's vintage Hotmail service will be automatically moved over to Outlook.com this summer, though users can switch sooner if they want, Microsoft said.
“Beginning today, Microsoft will begin to upgrade every Hotmail user to Outlook.com.,” the company said in a statement. “The upgrade is seamless and instant for Hotmail customers; everything including their @hotmail.com email address, password, contacts, etc., will stay the same,” said the company in AFP reports.
Microsoft conceived Outlook.com to replace its age-old Hotmail product, which it acquired in 1997, and the general availability clearly indicates the start of that process. The Hotmail name world not disappear entirely, but Outlook.com will become Microsoft's sole free consumer e-mail offering.
The recent move by Microsoft is based on its strategy to integrate all services under a single banner. When making the transition from Hotmail to Outlook.com, users would not need to notify their contacts of a new email address or set up the service from scratch. Existing Hotmail users can keep the same @hotmail email address, and their password, messages, folders, contacts, rules, vacation replies, and other settings will all stay the same without disruption, Microsoft promised.
With a fresh outlook and unique strategy, the software giant plans to initiate a massive global marketing effort to promote the service, Microsoft intends to spend millions on an advertising campaign spanning across television, print, websites, billboards and radio. The firm expects to spend up to $90 million in the three-month campaign.
Moreover, Microsoft said users have also been happy about Outlook.com's tools for handling newsletters and commercial mail. The mail service comes with Sweep, a feature that helps users more easily move, archive, or delete specific email.
Another unique approach is based on its internal research, the software giant said that users saw 60 percent fewer ads on average when using Outlook.com. The service replaces ads with the latest updates from Facebook or Twitter when a user is reading email from one of their contacts.
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