Microsoft Goes Live: 10 Things You Should Know About It

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-08-01

Microsoft Goes Live: 10 Things You Should Know About It

Microsoft has officially flipped on the switch, marking a significant change in the company€™s email strategy. Soon, Hotmail will be a thing of the past and will be the service that Microsoft€™s online email subscribers use. is just the latest change that has come to Microsoft€™s ecosystem and includes everything from Windows 8 launching in October to improved versions of Office and Windows Phone.

But for now, the focus should be on After all, it marks a major shift for Microsoft, and could dramatically impact how Microsoft€™s customers interact with their email. offers the same basic features as Hotmail€“sending and receiving emails€“but it comes with so many interesting features and backend strategies that current and potential users should know more about how it works.

Read on to learn more about

1. Hotmail is dead

With the launch of Outlook, Hotmail users can all but kiss goodbye their former service. Eventually, Hotmail will be discontinued in favor of, meaning an era is officially ending. So, get ready for it.

2. It€™s a new design

One of the nice things about is that it delivers an all-new look that should help users easily navigate through emails. The service comes with a clean look, streamlined navigation and overall looks much nicer. That€™s important as Microsoft attempts to keep customers using its service.

3. Get ready for the land grab

According to some reports, users are grabbing all kinds of email addresses from the domain, including some that nabbed possible aliases for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates. Those looking to sign up for Outlook that don€™t have Hotmail accounts now should act quickly to get their own preferred address.

4. Slide shows are built-in

Since sharing photos has become a popular exploit for email users, Microsoft has built a slide show feature into It€™s a nice addition that will appeal to many folks who commonly share photos over email.

Microsoft Goes Live: 10 Things You Should Know About It 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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