Microsoft’s new Outlook: a home-grown hammer in Hotmail’s coffin

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Hotmail’s been the wheezing old collie of the email world for a few years now: we all acknowledge that it doesn’t really serve any purpose but don’t have the guts to put it down because it reminds us of simpler times. Well Microsoft’s about to do it the kindness it should’ve done a long time ago.

The puppy set to replace the old hound is the latest iteration of Outlook. In a what may be one of the frankest statements to ever come out of the Redmond-based giant, it acknowledges that the update is its first “major improvement” to cloud email in eight years.

“We think the time is right to reimagine personal email, from the data center to the user experience,” said Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Live Chris Jones. “So today we’re introducing a preview of Outlook.com.”

Microsoft claims that Outlook offers a new personal email service that reimagines the way that people use email – from a cleaner look, to fewer and less obtrusive ads, to new connections to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

It also says that Outlook.com “builds off the power of the Outlook people have long used on their PCs and Macs,” adding that it has “a fresh, clean user interface that gets the clutter out of inboxes and takes away display ads and large search boxes”.

Perhaps more significantly, it also comes bundled with social network integration and 7GB of free cloud storage. Then again, it has to do a lot if it wants to lure people away from Gmail.

Microsoft reckons Outlook should work across a range of devices including smartphones, tablets, and the new Outlook 2013 Preview. In the coming months Hotmail users will be prompted to switch to the new service.

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