Hotmail migration starts as Microsoft begins moving users to Outlook.com

News 19 Feb, 2013

Microsoft to kick off massive marketing push for email service.

Hotmail users will officially start being upgraded to Microsoft's Outlook.com email service, which has been officially launched today.

The firm claims that 60 million users have signed up to Outlook.com since it was made available for preview six months ago.

David Law, director of Outlook.com product management said that Microsoft has taken feedback on board to improve the service before launching it worldwide and moving users off of Hotmail.

“Through the preview, we've heard and learned a great deal about your favourite features and how well Outlook.com is delivering on our vision for modern email,” he said in the Official Microsoft blog.

"For example, millions of people are connecting Outlook.com to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up-to-date on their friends' contact info, updates, photos, and Tweets.  And a number of people have expressed appreciation that Outlook.com replaces advertising with the latest updates from Facebook or Twitter when they're reading email from one of their contacts.”

Law claimed on average users see 60 per cent fewer ads when using Outlook.com. Microsoft plans to kick-off a major marketing campaign to promote the service and claims that it is ready to scale to a billion users.

However, not everything has gone smoothly with the planned migration. When the Outlook.com service was originally debuted in August 2012, Hotmail users vented their frustration as they were automatically upgraded without being consulted.

There appeared no way to switch back to the Hotmail service and some users were left without access to email.

Microsoft tried to remedy the situation by providing a step-by-step guide to upgrading, but it remained adament that the Hotmail brand would be phased out.

It remains to be seen if the upgrade goes smoothly. This is the second mass migration which Microsoft is working on con-currently.

The firm is also retiring its long-serving Windows Live Messenger service on 8 April and moving everyone over to the Skype platform, which it purchased in 2010 for $8.5bn.