Microsoft wouldn’t come out and say it, but Hotmail is becoming Outlook; a Metro-themed extravaganza without much of Hotmail’s muchness. The new Outlook web portal eschews most of the crap that had been caked onto Hotmail over the years, especially after their Live services launch years back. The new look is fantastic, if perhaps simplistic to the point of being barren (something that underserves the sophistication of Microsoft’s products at times) and comes with a clean Messenger client and Skype calling right in the panel. If I still used Hotmail regularly, this would probably be the best news ever. But I don’t.
In the early aughts, Hotmail was my first real webmail that didn’t rely on an AOL subscription or being in college. And at the time, I was also using MSN Messenger (as it was called at the time) to chat with my TeamXbox pals. Then Gmail landed with a full gigabyte of storage courtesy of a friend’s invite. I didn’t know what I’d do with a gigabyte of storage, but I loved this innovative new service and its clean client. Now years later, I never use Windows Messenger and Gmail has forced my Hotmail usage out the window. The fact that I never caught on Windows Phone (opting for Android instead) also suppressed the matter, too. I’m a Google guy now and as great as Outlook will be for 4000 million Hotmail users, it’s just too little, too late to bring me back to the fold.
You can sign up for anew Outlook e-mail or use your existing Hotmail account and the benefits are immediate. Congrats Hotmail, you have a better-looking web portal.