Microsoft is expanding is Outlook email branding to the web, with plans to replace Hotmail with Outlook.com. According to Microsoft’s blog post it’s a complete rework of email, rather than just a rebranding. I rarely use it but I do have a Hotmail (actually live.com) account so I took a look. I like the new look. Others have said it’s metro-like, I’ll take their word for it since I’ve only seen pictures. Like GMail, there’s adds but they’re unobtrusive on the right, all text so far.
Outlook.com also allows up to 5 aliases so I claimed a few that I use for other email. It was also a nice touch that when the aliases were created I was given the option to create a folder for those emails and create a rule to put them there upon receipt. Also, I could use either the new @outlook.com or the old hotmail.com or live.com in the addresses. I could then change the default email for the account to the @outlook.com address.
Outlook.com doesn’t support IMAP but I was able to set up the account on my iPhone using Exchange Active Sync. I used the Hotmail server and account info but I see the folders I created on Outlook.com and could @Outlook.com as my sending & reply addresses. So it appears to work, at least until the band-aids come loose.
I’m firmly entrenched in GMail so it wouldn’t be easy for me to leave, although Microsoft does highlight configuring your Outlook.com mailbox to pull email from other services such as GMail. They do emphasize the social features which is a bit of a turn-off for me (so I turned them off). I’m set in my ways, I just want email to be email.
Microsoft is on a bit of a roll this year with new versions on the horizon for their main desktop and server OS’s along with their flagship Office product. Lot’s of change which will drive people nuts at times (myself included) but it’s nice to see them thinking about their software and being willing to change it.
Any Hotmail users out there with first impressions of Outlook.com?