Microsoft Goes Live: 10 Things You Should Know About It

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-08-01 Print this article Print
 Takes Aim at Gmail}

5. Like Gmail, chat is built-in

To enhance€™s overall usability, Microsoft has bundled chat features into the service. So, in addition to Outlook chat, users can instant message with each other over Facebook Chat. It€™s a nicely integrated feature, but it€™s certainly nothing new: Google has its own alternative in Gmail.

6. Office integration is huge

Armed with, users will be able to view and edit Office documents from within the email platform. So, if an Excel spreadsheet needs a quick modification or a Word document has a typo, users won€™t need to download a file just to make the changes. It€™s a nice feature.

7. A social address book

It seems that everywhere we turn nowadays, companies are looking to bundle social network information into address books. That€™s certainly the case with In fact, Microsoft€™s Contacts list allows users to access a person€™s latest information shared via Facebook and LinkedIn.

8. Skype, of course

When Microsoft acquired Skype last year, the company made it clear that it planned to bundle the VoIP service into as many of its platforms as possible. So, it would only make sense for to come with access to Skype. Aside from basic calling, users will also be able to place video calls to other Skype or Outlook users.

9. The focus is on Gmail

Make no mistake: with, Microsoft is gunning for Gmail. Microsoft knows that Hotmail wasn€™t doing the trick and the company felt compelled to come up with something that could match it., at least so far, looks to be just the ticket.

10. Windows 8€™s inspiration

As noted, the design of is awfully nice. But it€™s important to recognize that its design is inspired by Windows 8. The same can be said for Windows Phone 8 and even Office 2013. At this point, it appears Microsoft wants to use Windows 8 as an inspiration for all of its products and carry a single look-and-feel across all products. Let€™s see if the plan works out.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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