Microsoft Launches Outlook.com To All. Is It Better Than Gmail?

    February 22, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Microsoft has announced that Outlook.com, the new webmail offering it launched in limited preview last year, is officially launching worldwide to all. According to the company, it has already amassed 60 million users in 6 months. According to a report from Bloomberg, a third of that number is made up of people who switched from Gmail for their primary free email account.

Is Outlook.com better than Gmail? Let us know what you think.

“Since the service was released as a preview last summer, the team’s goal has been to provide the best email service possible, encouraging feedback from customers using Outlook.com,” a Microsoft spokesperson tells WebProNews. “Since then, the team has fine-tuned the experience in order to deliver modern email for billions of email users.”

“To date, Outlook.com customers have praised the inbox experience, with deeper social integration, 60% fewer ads and one-of-a-kind tools for managing newsletters, which make up as much as 80% of the typical inbox,” the spokesperson adds. “Outlook.com customers are also enjoying the SkyDrive integration, with more than half a billion photos and Office documents shared by Outlook.com customers via SkyDrive.”

Here’s a walkthrough of the features:

With the launch comes an automatic upgrade process for millions of Hotmail users, who will be transitioned to the Outlook.com experience. It will be interesting to see how current Hotmail users like the transition. Here’s what David Law, the director of product management has to say about the transition:

The upgrade is seamless and instant for people who use Hotmail. Everything from their @hotmail.com email address, password, messages, folders, contacts, rules, vacation replies, etc. will stay the same, with no disruption in service. When upgraded, they’ll also get all the benefits from the redesigned Outlook.com experience–a fresh and intuitive user interface, lots of new features and better performance. And we won’t ever make you switch your email address to an @outlook.com address if you don’t want to.

We expect all people using Hotmail to be upgraded by this summer. And for those that are excited to get the new benefits of the Outlook.com experience, there’s no need to wait. You can upgrade today by simply signing in at Outlook.com and we’ll take care of the rest.

Microsoft is also starting a huge marketing effort, though you could really say this already started with the latest “Scroogled” campaign a couple weeks ago. The company came out attacking a decade-old Gmail feature as it urged users to switch to Outlook.com.

Google users algorithms that serve Gmail users ads based on the content of their email messages. Microsoft is framing this as a privacy issue, though it scans emails itself for security issues (as does Google). No humans are reading your email, regardless of which of these services you are using.

Here are the ads in case you haven’t seen them:

The campaign itself has been the subject of a fair amount of criticism. It will be interesting to see how much of Microsoft’s ongoing Outlook.com marketing is slamming Google, compared to how much is simply promoting the product’s features.

The company is reportedly spending tens of millions of dollars on TV, online, print and bus advertising, amounting to what is reportedly the biggest-ever ad campaign for an email product [Bloomberg].

New users can get an @Outlook.com email address. Hotmail users, as their accounts are upgraded, will be able to send/receive email from @hotmail.com, @msn.com or @live.com addresses. Users of other services like Gmail or Yahoo Mail can set up a new @outlook.com address, and have their other accounts forwarded.

There’s a mobile set-up guide here.

What do you think of Outlook.com? Better than Hotmail? Better than Gmail? Will it help win a bigger chunk of Gmail’s market share? Will you be switching? Let us know what you think.

  • http://www.richmondcomputer.com Jon Frey, Richmond Computer

    This is a step in the right direction for Microsoft in chasing Gmail and Yahoo users. The merging of Hotmail with Outlook.com may not be welcomed by all but it will centralize Microsoft’s mail platform and bring it more in line with Office365. Market share is a critical metric for Microsoft, so deployment of this platform is a good business decision.

  • http://highgrovebarns.co.uk ROB

    Outlook.com has been foisted on us in place of our Hotmail account. If our address was not published in so many places we would dump it. It’s pathetically slow, ponderous in use, jumps regularly to the wrong message. MS have tried and failed to match gmail which we have used with very little frustration for around 5 years for other businesses and financial alerts. Hate the sterile look of Outlook after a much more friendly Hotmail was dropped. Read the forums, everybody seems to be negative or downright hostile to OL.

  • dan

    Gmail, chrome, g+ and all other google products exists for one purpose only : to collect data about you and bombard you with personally targeted ads. It’s really creepy.

  • http://www.idesignyourvision.com JXL

    I’ve been using gmail for longer than I can remember and it continues to evolve into something more and more dynamic. I’ve given OL a try and it doesn’t compare. It is true that Gmail does target marketing but the adds in my inbox unobtrusive. It’s a simple ticker at the top. I don’t even notice it anymore. For those that complain about your information being collected then you shouldn’t be online at all – get off Facebook, don’t use Google search, don’t use Bing search, or any other service. But if you’re more concerned about a great experience then Gmail is and has always been the way to go. Yahoo still offers mail??

  • BlokeToys

    I’m loving this! It seems like the attack is now officially on and Google is being exposed for what they’re doing properly. And Google is adding to its own downfall now that it’s also actively censoring their own search results too! It’s like they’re HELPING Microsoft to destroy them lol

    However, I still don’t understand why the hell people want to use free email services. It costs less than $10 a month to have your own domain, with your own email address (as many as you want within reason) and there’s far fewer chances of it being hacked, monitored, spied on, leaked, abused…

    If I were to use a free service, it wouldn’t be Google, it wouldn’t be Yahoo, it would probably be this. But I don’t use them, because I pay a small amount every month to have my own server, with my own email address, with no corporation controlling it. Even with Outlook you have far greater chance of it being hacked, or of them changing their policy without you knowing about it, and suddenly you’re in another mess.

    Stop being so cheap and just buy your own domain, then you won’t have to worry half as much.

    • http://www.allthatnerdystuff.com Jason

      You can host your own email for free using Microsoft’s Live Domains service, and you’ll get the full outlook.com experience with your own custom addresses :)

  • http://www.mark2media.com Bob Lawrence

    I can tell you this… My mother-in-law “hates” it. For an elderly person who has been with MSN through the changes of the past 7-10 years, the change feels abrupt and annoying… once again.

    Her Email history…
    MSN.com, Live.com, Hotmail.com, Bing.com, Outlook.com…

    • http://www.allthatnerdystuff.com Jason

      bing.com isn’t an email service and never has been. Change is life :).

  • http://fatlossonly.com/ Steve@The Diet Solution

    Dump it all. Get MS Office and use Outlook, the Office component. It allows me to check all my emails with one click. Plus I can use HTML and customize my messages. It is a snap. Couldn’t live without it.

  • http://www.procurement-lawyer.com/ Cy Phillips

    A well thought-out upgrade to an already sufficent electronic mail application. Much easier to use, faster, and more proficient that Gmail. I dropped Gmail two days after installing this Web-based electronic mail application. Since doing so, I have saved considerable time downloading and sorting through my electronic mail messages.

  • http://www.nevadawebsitedesign.com Frank Okun

    At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a way to add an image to the signature, and when clicking on “Help”, there seems to be a solution, but refers to Windows Live. Although Outlook.com seems simple, it doesn’t seem to ne that it would replace the desktop version of Outlook, which is widely used. Nor, does it have the same functionality as its desktop counterpart. I use Gmail and wouldn’t change. There’s also AOL and Yahoo, so I don’t see any benefit of using Outlook.com.

  • http://www.bogdanstorm.com Bogdan Storm

    The MAIN difference is the name.
    The rest of the story is the same: both are american companies that must OBEY the american laws.
    Does anyone know what american laws mention ? (eg. keep copies of all data that pass through servers for at least 10 years)

    Think BIG!

  • http://www.wireheadtec.com howard

    Well, I have tried using Outlook.com but I can’t get it to work. every time I put in basic information I get system not working try again later. for the last two days either the system has a flood of new users or it works off and on. Microsoft check your system then when you have it working contact me until then. I will just use the system I got I know it works

    • http://www.allthatnerdystuff.com Jason

      I’ve been using it since it debuted last year and have never had that occur. I’ve also migrated numerous clients to the service and none have reported any such errors. Perhaps you have a connection issue :)

  • Faris Mlaeb

    Wonderful, and very fast,great work
    nice interface

    But they have to make it more compatible with mobile browser

  • John

    Anything MS is always going to equal ugly I guess…It works fine, but really? Do you enjoy looking like crap MS?

    • http://www.allthatnerdystuff.com Jason

      Are you kidding? Outlook.com is hands down the most elegant, cleanly designed email service on the market :). Microsoft’s new modern UI (formerly “Metro Style”) design style is hands down the best work anybody’s done in UI design in years :)

      • Efren

        You’re right! Also “outlook.com” is more faster, even when you use it on countries with famous censorship. Till today good experience and better results

  • http://healthchocolatejunkie.com HCJ

    I believe this will be a much welcome service. Many People are just getting fed-up with the almighty google garbage daily change of rules and slapdowns. Goodstuff ahead!

  • Kim

    I hate it!! When I send an email, my inbox has the outgoing message attached to the original email. Which means I have to delete the message in order to get to the original message. It takes forever to switch folders. I absolutely hate it and if it weren’t for the fact that dad & I share an email address, I wouldn’t go near this with a 10 foot pole.

    I would rather have been given a choice…my answer would have been “NO”.


  • http://www.exabytes.sg/ Jerrick

    Outlook seem like got lot of bugs and less feature. The design seem plain
    If compare previous hotmail and current outlook. I’m still prefer hotmail. After outlook take over , I been fully use of gmail right now.

  • http://reynoldspest.com Brian Reynolds

    First I had MSN premium and what a mess that was, could never find out how to cancel the thing. Finally, my credit card expired. They are still sending me reminders (I’m sure I could find the update area quickly).

    Then I went to Outlook. I liked Outlook for a while until my computer crashed and I was unable to retrieve my contacts. I don’t know if they ever fixed their back up issue, but that was when I decided to go with web based email and have been very satisfied with Gmail ever since. The problem I see with Microsoft is that it seems there is always a hassle with something. Hopefully, Outlook.com will be transparent and easy like Gmail.

  • http://www.lasvegaswebseo.com Matt

    Microsoft wants so badly to be part of the inside advertising opportunities such as how Google uses the content of your emails to display targeted advertisements to you. Microsoft wants to be able to process the content of your email to display targeted ads to you, plain and simple. The easier they can allow you to use Outlook.com, the more they make.

  • http://www.foundationdigital.com.au Pamela

    No problems so far with Outlook and unlike Gmail at least you can do simple sorts by sender.

  • ann power

    I think outlook is rubbish, confusing and, at times, unobtainable – like today! Couldn’t access my account all day. And this has happened before.

    Roll on gmail, much better.

  • http://www.beton1x2.com/ Leon

    I’ve never use Outlook because it use memory on my desktop/notebook so I leave it about 5 years ago switch to online webmail like hotmail and gmail

  • http://www.nua.ie Nuasoft Web Design

    I can never understand why anyone would use a service as creepy as Gmail when there are so many alternatives (including getting your own domain name and email for just pennies a week.)

    I hope outlook has fixed Hotmails problem of putting just about every email you recieve from strangers into the spam folder.

  • Pete Bond

    I’ve just closed my outlook.com account after discovering it was downloading all my emails every half hour or so. I got stung because I exceeded my monthly bandwidth from my hosting company – 10GB in first two weeks of March, nearly all down to POP3 !!!

  • Kerri

    I hate Outlook.com. There is no personalization available, save for a color change for the bar at the top; you can’t change the font for composing emails (this “upgrade” was foisted upon me this morning) and it’s just antiseptic-looking, sparse and overall boring. I definitely will be switching to something else, but it will take time, as my hotmail addy is attached to so much.

  • ???? russell zoll

    every thing looks nice and everything, but HOW DO I USE IT?

  • EDL

    I got gmail and now I’ve also Outlook.com. The reason? Google too many times request me to ‘sign in’ but do not allow me entry. Either claiming that my mail address already is taken (yes-by me) or continuosly dragging me thru ‘sign in’ process and at the end refuses entry saying that my phone number was used too many times for verification (the only one I’ve).
    To get to my gmail I’ve to use trick:
    First I click on ‘about me’. then I go to comunities and other sites, were I start posting my own comments. After that Google let me go to my own gmail, without further request for continuous overly long and tiredsome, unproductive ‘sign in’.
    However, something strange happened recently. I was reading in my gmail somebodys response to my public comment, when the add interfered and when add was gone, I saw flag/spasm posted by his response. I had with that person few mail exchange previously. I did not put flag. But that flag stays now in his public commentary also.
    Now Outlook.com is new to me and I opened it, hoping to have dependable, easily accesible mail. I do not know all the characteristics of Outlook, yet. I’ve no problem receiving Outlook mail. But I am unable to send out, because I’ve problems with proper settings and here confusing info.
    Also, I like to to keep the changing bar/wallpaper of Bing (it’s beautiful) but I would like to paste to my desktop a miniature photo from my email, but do not know how.