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Microsoft Unveils Outlook.com, Hotmail's Successor 368

New submitter faraway writes "Microsoft has just unveiled Outlook.com, the planned successor to Hotmail.com. It includes a lot of what you'd expect from email today, including storage (images, data), a calendar, integration with other Microsoft tools, and of course a clean UI. According to ZDNet, 'Outlook.com is integrated with Windows and Office, and can pull in Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and LinkedIn contacts. The new mail client has the Metro look and feel. And it is providing users with more granular control over which ads they see and where they see them.'"
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Microsoft Unveils Outlook.com, Hotmail's Successor

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  • Hopefully they didn't put the logout link 5 pixels below the account selector, as did the idiots who revamped Hotmail's UI.
    • by iONiUM ( 530420 )
      You click your name, and it's in that drop-down (like Google+)
    • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:25PM (#40831801) Homepage Journal

      They have idiots at Google too, that took a good, functional UI and revamped it with a nonsensical one.

      For instance: in the old Gmail, you had clearly labeled HTML buttons that said "Delete" "Compose" "Archive", etc. It was easy to find.

      In the new UI, somebody decided that little tiny dark icons with no text description were cool. Now the Delete button is replaced by a tiny black icon that represents a trash can. Archive button is replaced by another tiny black icon which looks similar to the other little black icons. So basically, what used to be a two-step operation (move your mouse cursor to Delete button, click) is now a four or five-step operation. (move cursor over little black icon and hover, wait for the onHover title to see if it's the one you want, go on to the next little icon and hover, read title, then click if it's the right one).

      • by ZipK ( 1051658 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:50PM (#40832251)

        In the new UI, somebody decided that little tiny dark icons with no text description were cool.

        Gear -> Settings -> Button Labels -> Text

        • by tooyoung ( 853621 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @06:29PM (#40835441)

          Gear -> Settings -> Button Labels -> Text

          So, if you think the GUI is hard to figure out, just go to a setting buried three levels deep behind a menu represented by an icon lacking text to fix it!

      • by flirno ( 945854 )

        I like how the label list is dynamic as all heck making it a pain to accurately click on a specific label.

  • Ads? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:45PM (#40831175) Homepage

    The new mail client has the Metro look and feel. And it is providing users with more granular control over which ads they see and where they see them.'"

    Ads? What do ads have to do with email?

    • Ads? What do ads have to do with 'free' email?

      FTFY, hope that helps....

    • I wonder if one of those fine, granular controls is "none at all"?

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        I was going to ask the same question.

        Of course, the answer is "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh, you kids an your wacky ideas.... No Ads???? You're so funny!"

  • by dehole ( 1577363 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:45PM (#40831189)

    I notice that MS is using the success they've had with advertising on XBOX to transform their other projects into similiar Ad platforms. That is why the Metro interface looks like the XBox dashboard, so that it will be easier to slip advertisements in it. Outlook.com will be no different.

  • no thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:46PM (#40831197)

    And it is providing users with more granular control over which ads they see and where they see them.'"

    My local mail app doesn't show me ANY ads, it doesn't expose the contents of my email to data miners, it lets me instantly search email and compose new mail even if the network goes down, it doesn't lock me into proprietary solutions, and as a mail packrat it's let me take my mail collection with me as I move from system to system since 1984.

    • My local mail app ... doesn't expose the contents of my email to data miners

      You only send and receive encrypted email? I am impressed!

  • No clippy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Celexi ( 1753652 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:48PM (#40831229)
    No clippy, no thanks.
  • by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica@@@supjessica...com> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:50PM (#40831263)

    My coworker registered about 8 really short names since they weren't taken yet (such as his first name, a common name).

    My name wasn't available though, so I just got satan@outlook.com.

    • by raydobbs ( 99133 )

      I so totally see someone applying for a job with some religious organization someday, and giving that as your reply-to e-mail address. Instant interview stopper.

    • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:20PM (#40831741)

      I got a.grim@outlook.com so everyone will know what an optimist I am

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:29PM (#40831877) Homepage

      One thing worth noting about this whole Outlook.com land grab: The accounts you are signing up for are not email accounts, they are "Microsoft accounts." They are keyed to Microsoft's whole package of cloudy services, so when you login to Outlook.com, you're also logging into SkyDrive, Messenger, and whatever else gets provisioned for you. If it worries you how Google seems to follow you all around the web once you're logged in, well, this is the start of Microsoft doing it.

      • More like an expansion. Microsoft has been following you around for a while now. Before the Microsoft Account there was Windows Live ID, and before that there was Passport and Wallet. This is just the next in line of tracking your movements between properties, now including the OS and Windows Marketplace.
      • Apple is similar in that it wants an "Apple ID" to get onto some of its weird online stuff.

    • Maybe now I can get a Microsoft email again, now that it's Outlook.com. Many years ago, my cat signed up for Hotmail, and used her real name and age, so when they came out with that "need to be 13 years old" restriction, they froze her account. The only way to unlock it would have been to use a credit card, but if I did that, she'd be logging on to Amazon with it and ordering cases of tuna, so no way.
      (Although come to think of it, she's probably 13 years old by now; I'll have to check what year we got he

  • I actually like it. I know people, especially those on /., hate Metro, but the UI/UX is really clean and discover-able. Of course, that said, I won't be switching from gmail for this, but at least the few times I have to check my old hotmail account will no longer require the hideous hotmail UI.

  • Another Outlook? (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Moof ( 859402 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:52PM (#40831289)
    Great. I didn't have enough problem trying to explain the difference between Outlook and Outlook Express to people. Now I need to also include Outlook.com in the "Yes, they're from Microsoft and named the same, but no they're not the same" conversation.

    To the person who will inevitably point out that OE is discontinued, it's still on enough workstations out there that I still receive "Why won't my OFT work in 'Outlook'" support calls.
    • Most people seem to understand the difference between Outlook Web Access and Outlook, so I don't think they'll have a problem with Outlook.com vs Outlook.... although Outlook.com and OWA may be confused now.

    • Outlook Express has been dead for ages. Who exactly are you explaining it to? Time travelers?
  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:53PM (#40831301) Homepage

    Hotmail's spam filtering is without a doubt the worst on the web. Obvious spam ends up in my Inbox, and legitimate mail ends up in the spam.

    What's worse though is when it gets fooled into thinking that the email is part of a mailing list I've subscribed to and displays all the images automatically, making the spammer aware that my email address is valid.

    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:12PM (#40831599) Homepage

      Hotmail's spam filtering is without a doubt the worst on the web. Obvious spam ends up in my Inbox, and legitimate mail ends up in the spam.

      I'm not sure this is much better. I've had access to a preview version of Outlook.com for a couple of weeks now, and I've been forwarding it mail from an account that gets lots of press releases. A few of the really obvious spam emails end up in the junk folder automatically, but so do some of the "legitimate" press releases -- and that's assuming you wouldn't normally classify a press release as spam. 90 percent of the mail I sent it seemed to sail right through.

      What's more, Outlook.com tries to detect context for each of the mails you receive, to give you different types of information linked to the message. One thing it tries to do is differentiate between mail from individuals that's intended specifically for you and mail from mailing lists. Needless to say, next to nothing I sent it wasn't from a mailing list, but it flagged a few messages as being from individuals anyway.

      What it does when it thinks you're seeing a message from one of your friends is it tries to display other information about that person in the box where the ads would go, such as the latest post from their Twitter or Facebook feed. It was pretty amusing to see an email from someone that began, "Dear {{YourName Here}}" and off to the right, Outlook.com was asking me to Friend the sender on Facebook.

      Needless to say, my "usage" of the product so far has been pretty atypical, and maybe by running an email account on it where I don't actually talk to any of my friends and 90 percent of the incoming mail is totally unsolicited breaks the expected usage pattern.

      But still, their vision of how email works doesn't really jibe with mine. Say one of my business contacts sends me an email about a project we're working on. Is this the time to follow their Twitter feed? Probably not. All of that functionality just seems like feature creep, and I suspect it has something to do with marketing partnerships.

  • Nice clean UI, easy to use and fairly fast. I think this could be a good one. Though I don't like the idea of an @outlook.com domain for email...

  • by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:55PM (#40831337) Homepage Journal

    This is something Microsoft should have undertaken immediately after acquiring Hotmail. Microsoft has a strong brand with Outlook, and it makes total sense to be using that brand for their webmail offering.

    Doing it at this time also makes sense. They're making a big push for a new user interface ("metro"), and this is one more place where they can integrate that interface, making it consistent across their offerings.

    Of course, the devil is in the details. If they do it wrong, it will weaken their Outlook brand and push existing customers towards competitors. On the other hand, they're getting a ton of free publicity, so they have a chance to capitalize on the moment and steal market share.

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, they don't have a good history of execution on things like this--most likely the new platform will be horrible, but they'll keep at it, and after a few generations, it will be a decent competitor, but that's three to five years out.

    • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:28PM (#40831853)

      Hotmail had 8.5 million users when MS acquired... not bad for 1997. At the time, Hotmail may have been a stronger name than Outlook. At any rate, Outlook has generally been aimed at business users while Hotmail has been aimed at home users. But I agree that they still should have done this at least 10 years ago.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Hotmail is (and was) a stronger brand for free webmail than Outlook is. Most people who know Outlook as something other than "that crappy email client that comes with Windows?" probably aren't in the market for free webmail accounts.

  • by Cederic ( 9623 )

    providing users with more granular control over which ads they see and where they see them

    How about "none" and "ever"?

    This is why I pay for independent email hosting..

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:09PM (#40831563) Homepage Journal
    The Magic 8 Ball says "Outlook not so good"
  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:13PM (#40831621) Homepage

    I can't find any mention of it, but does it include either IMAP or Exchange support? One of my complaints about Hotmail is that they still haven't provided any accessibility from software clients except through POP, and POP isn't really appropriate anymore for personal email addresses.

    Really, IMO, they should be using the same connectors as Exchange so you can access the calendar and address book from software clients. It's not as though they're unfamiliar with the technology. I suppose they don't want to make a decent free email service, though, since it would cannibalize their more expensive services. I guess I'll just stick with Gmail.

    • IMAP probably never. If IMAP caught on then Exchange would become less popular.

      I wish my ISP allowed IMAP though, it seems quite a lot of them only support POP.

  • to have a valid email that was not work related. Two reasons. 1. To sign up for downloads and other stuff on the internet. 2. To look for another job. I have had many work related emails since 1995, but the same my personal Hotmail account. I even have a short and easy username since I signed up so early in the HoTMaiL beta. I upgraded to a Plus account for a year or two, but then didn't seen the need after the free service caught up to my requirements. I have since setup another junk hotmail acco

  • No IMAP/SMTP (Score:5, Informative)

    by execthis ( 537150 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:44PM (#40832137)

    Hello no IMAP/SMTP support goodbye

  • Microsoft Mess (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:51PM (#40832261)


    I now have 4 Microsoft e-mail/IM IDs that basically do the same thing but don't talk to each other unless I manually merge them, which doesn't always work.

    Thanks a lot Gates and Ballmer... and then you wonder why Page and Brin ate your lunch.

  • On the login page it lets us know this is a "Preview of modern email from Microsoft". So are they admitting Hotmail/Livemail is a pile of shit and we are all suckers for using it?
  • I guess Redmond's new business strategy is throw enough dirty pairs of underwear against the wall and something is bound to stick sooner or later...
  • Integrations with it's own products is it's main issue. Most users don't use MS's calendar/chat/etc, so integration with those adds little value.
    Integration with XMPP means that people might consider using it, since they can still chat with their xmpp/gtalk contacts.
    Integration with caldav means people will use their CURRENT calendar.

    At the moment, it's either migrate EVERYTHING, or don't use it. Most people wan't bother.

    I'd actually probably tell some friend that hates google to try it out if it had XMPP

  • by hobarrera ( 2008506 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @03:28PM (#40832905) Homepage

    Wow, I actually tried this a few minutes.
    The interface is horrible, most of the screen is generally unused, and fields (like where you write an email) have no border, so it's hard to tell where they end.

    Plus, all mail is always html. No plain-text email. No option to disable this so-called-feature either, so users will only be able to send html-emails, to the annoyance of many recipients.

  • Time to update the spam filters from hotmail.com to outlook.com

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @04:48PM (#40834041) Journal

    The trillion tiny little fuck-ups by Microsoft are fully evident in this new service: I am not allowed to enter my mobile phone number because apparently "it is not suitable in my region". Right.

    And I got immediately an alert that someone tried to use my account without authorization so I have to immediately change my password.

    Some other localization issues and forcing me to use a language I don't want to use... oh well, thanks for reminding me of what piece of crap Microsoft products are (still).

  • by Hero Zzyzzx ( 525153 ) <{moc.gnisirpukeeg} {ta} {nad}> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @04:53PM (#40834127) Homepage

    You are required to pick a password of 16 characters or less - why? I blogged about maximum password length restrictions before [harvard.edu], and I would like to hear a compelling reason why this is needed. Otherwise, I can only assume they are storing them in plaintext.

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