Outlook.com comes out of beta with 60m users, Hotmail changeover coming soon

19 Feb 2013

Six months after it launched in preview mode, Outlook.com, Microsoft’s refresh of its email service, has emerged with 60m monthly active users and plans are in motion to change Hotmail users over to the new service this summer.

Outlook.com received positive and helpful feedback during its lengthy preview phase and is now fully baked and ready to take on the world. Microsoft envisages the service reaching 1bn users and will take steps towards this ambitious target by shifting all Hotmail users over to Outlook.com if they haven’t already made the switch.

The transition is expected to be seamless with no action needed from users and no disruption in service expected. Hotmail users can even opt to stick with their @hotmail.com address and all their existing contacts, folders and settings will be transferred to the cool, clean UI of Outlook.com.

Microsoft also plans an extensive marketing campaign to entice even more users to its new-look email service.


When Outlook.com was announced last August, Microsoft hoped to merge the best of Outlook and Hotmail in one mobile-optimised service offering integration with the new cloud-based Office suite and social media. The service has so far been a success, it seems, earning praise across the board.

Key features for Outlook.com include a contact list that pulls in friends’ profile images from social networks and the ability to interact with contacts via these networks. In competition with Google’s Gmail, Microsoft promised at the launch of Outlook.com not to use private email content to target advertising at users and, instead of seeing advertising alongside personal conversations, users see their contact’s updates from Facebook and Twitter.

Outlook.com also features an inbox streamlining tool that lets users move or delete blocks of emails in one sweep and integration with SkyDrive for sending attachments (much like Gmail and Google Drive). Microsoft says nearly half of Outlook.com users have so far used SkyDrive to send more than 500m photos and Office documents.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.