It seems there was a point to Microsoft’s (MSFT) anti-Gmail campaign after all: It’s meant to coincide with the launch of Outlook.com, the webmail alternative that Microsoft has been offering as a preview for the past several months. Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it was taking Outlook out of preview and was starting the process of transitioning its current Hotmail users over to the new system. Microsoft promises that Hotmail users will experience no disruptions in service and that “everything from their @hotmail.com email address, password, messages, folders, contacts, rules, vacation replies, etc. will stay the same, with no disruption in service.” The company also says that Outlook has garnered more than 60 million active users in the past six months, thus making it the “world’s fastest growing email service.”
Microsoft’s (MSFT) Outlook Twitter account proudly announced on Tuesday night that its new Outlook.com email application had already reached more than 1 million users less than a day after first becoming available. The new email system, which Microsoft is using to phase out its Hotmail system, features greater social networking integration with Facebook (FB),Twitter and LinkedIn, and gives users access to Microsoft’s suite of productivity tools including Microsoft Word, Excel, SkyDrive and PowerPoint right from their inboxes. Microsoft is also promising Skype integration for the new email protocol sometime in the near future.
Microsoft (MSFT) is giving its email application a much-needed makeover. On Tuesday Microsoft’s Outlook Blog took the wraps off of Outlook.com, a new online email portal that cleans up the traditional inbox user interface and adds several social networking features to the mix. On the inbox side, Outlook.com automatically detects emails that are newsletters and puts them into their own separate folder while also giving users the option to easily stop receiving newsletters with a one-click “unsubscribe” button. The new inbox also allows for message “sweep” operations where Outlook will only keep the very latest message from a given sender and will delete all previously sent messages.