Windows Live Hotmail Goes Global

    May 7, 2007

It’s being billed as “[t]he most significant upgrade for Hotmail since it pioneered the webmail industry in 1996,” and it’s here: Windows Live Hotmail is rolling out globally.

New users should get an account immediately; MSN Hotmail customers will be presented with the option of upgrading. 

But, given the number and scope of the upgrades, there’s little reason for anyone to hang back. 

Preview panes, right-click and drag-and-drop capabilities, and 2 GB of storage – these are just several notable features among many.

Windows Live Hotmail represents an extremely compelling end-to-end e-mail experience that makes it easy for customers to get best-of-breed e-mail access across PCs, mobile devices and the Web,” asserted Steve Berkowitz, Microsoft’s senior vice president of the Online Services Group, in a statement.  The spotlight then shifted from the main service to some upcoming features.

“Outlook Connector” will allow users to more closely manage their Windows Live Hotmail accounts through Outlook, “with full contact, e-mail and e-mail folder synchronization,” according to the company.  Available in 11 languages (Windows Live Hotmail is available in a whopping 36), Outlook Connector should arrive within the month.

Also on the way is “Windows Live Hotmail for mobile,” a rather self-explanatory concept. 

Lastly, keep an eye out for “Windows Live Mail beta, a free consumer e-mail client available via download that will be a successor to Outlook Express and Windows Mail on Windows Vista.” 

Things are definitely rolling right along in Redmond.

What’s more, things appear to be rolling in the right direction; initial reviews of Windows Live Hotmail have been quite positive. 

The Guardian Unlimited’s Jack Schofield admitted, “I’ve spent a decade trying to get people off Hotmail, with limited success, but it has now made a great leap forward with Windows Live Hotmail.”

But – and here’s the big question – how does Microsoft’s product compare to the offerings from Google and Yahoo?  “Windows Live Hotmail is still my third choice in major Web-based mail systems,” Schofield concluded.