Can Microsoft convert Gmail users?

The company's long-forgotten webmail service gets a Windows 8-style facelift, and tech junkies hail its beauty, simplicity, and focus on privacy.

By TheWeek.com Aug 1, 2012 8:11PM

Image: African-American woman shopping online (© Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images)So long, Hotmail. Microsoft (MSFT) gave the stodgy email service a complete overhaul on Tuesday, rebranding the portal as Outlook.com.


The renovated service boasts a minimalist interface that borrows heavily from the tile-driven design of Windows 8. Facebook Chat and Skype's industry-leading video calls will be built into Outlook, and users can open Microsoft Office files directly in web versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Plenty of good addresses with the suffix @outlook.com are still up for grabs, and existing @hotmail users will get to keep their old addresses if they want. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)


Another perk: Unlike Gmail, Microsoft promises that it won't scan your inbox for keywords to deliver you targeted ads. "Email remains a very personal experience," says Microsoft's Chris Jones. "We know that it's important for people to feel like they're in control of what information is used, their privacy, and how their email is connected with other services." 


Will the new Outlook woo fed-up Gmailers?


It just might: Hotmail spent a decade as a punchline, says Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. But out of nowhere, Microsoft "just pulled off the biggest victory in the inbox game since Gmail," and it might be enough to get you to ditch Google. The new Outlook is pretty, refreshing, and chock full of useful features. If you're wary of Google's overreaching ads and want a "beautiful, life-helping mail," consider making the switch -- if you act quickly, you might even get to use your real name.


No. Gmail is still more robust:
"Outlook.com doesn't have anything directly comparable to Gmail's priority inbox," says Harry McCracken at TIME. And more broadly, Gmail has a much greater number of compelling features, thanks mostly to Gmail Labs, which lets users install mail filters and webmail apps. At this point, Outlook is simply "not a rich platform for customization," which won't sit well with power users. "I don't have any immediate plan to dump Gmail as my primary email."


But Microsoft is making the switch easy: Outlook has a lot of little things going for it, like the ability to attach large files that exceed 25 MB, or easily filter out newsletters and other inbox clutter, says Mark Spoonauer at Laptop Mag. But one of the best selling points is the ability to easily forward your Gmail account's inbox to Outlook.com with a few simple clicks. In other words: You can use Outlook's interface with your Gmail address. "Bottom line: We can easily see people ditching Gmail for Outlook.com."


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Tags: GOOGMSFT
13Comments
Aug 2, 2012 10:59AM
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Wow, 8 out of 15 posts are spam, some sys op is sleeping on the keyboard!
Aug 2, 2012 9:07AM
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Yeah, gmail is not that great anyway...and neither is yahoo.
Aug 2, 2012 9:07AM
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LOL...what in the heck does the previous comments have to do with the Outlook.com article???!!! REALLY PPL?!!!!
Aug 1, 2012 10:52PM
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wanted to give this article a G+1 but not available... HMMM!
Aug 2, 2012 12:44PM
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I agree with others on this post.  Why all the SPAM, which are crowding out other comments,?  I send marked for SPAM when I see but they pop right back up.  They need a filter to keep these out.

Aug 2, 2012 8:34AM
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Can't these "lonely" people looking for a date go kill themselves immediately? They are losers, they know it and need to put all of us and themselves out of the MISERY that is their very existance!
Aug 3, 2012 12:26AM
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Google's computers read your incoming and outgoing gmail, Google has been caught hacking smart phones for data mining, Google has read and data mined data from unsecure wireless networks, Google watches every page you visit that has Google's tracking software on it.  This is a company that doesn't care about anyone's right to privacy.  So I'll prefer to stick with other email services over gmail.
Aug 2, 2012 5:57PM
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So there's an article on msn.com talking about how Hotmail may be better than Gmail... and it's comment box gets attacked by SPAM. Fitting, and typical. Keep up the good work, boys.
Aug 9, 2012 10:25AM
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I just used outlook.com to create a PowerPoint Presentation in 2010 format completely online.  I do not have PowerPoint at Home. I was then able to download it at work and polish it up a bit. Worked Great. Yes Gmail has more Bells and Whistles but I personally think Google+ sucks. The interface was just too clumsy.  I actually like the simplicity of Outlook.com. I didn't have to watch one video on how to use it. I am a convert.
Aug 2, 2012 2:10PM
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Gmail is just one part of the G+ community.  I do not think that Microsoft, coming in at the 11th hour will even make a dent in GMail....why....well for one.....corporations have conveted to google and googledocs......certainly not going to switch just becuase Microsoft says they have a better system, and is really only email.  The community that exists on MSN/HOTMAIL/whatever is non-existent, and the integration into the other factes of G+ outweigh the minor inconveniences (IMO).
Aug 2, 2012 1:24PM
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hotmail suck's big time! they cant seem to get rid of the spam in my mail box, but they have my account blocked. I have jumped through all of ther fricking hoops includeing changing my password three time's an still can't send any messages from my hotmail account. will not can not recommend anyone to use hotmail.
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