Microsoft are dumping the name "Hotmail" in favor for the brand new Outlook.com name. Hotmail was once synonymous with "webmail" and to stop using a name like that is quite the bold move. In LA Times Microsoft announce that Microsoft opens Outlook.com to the public, and this is why Hotmail.com won't be the brand name anymore. Hotmail users will still be able to use their hotmail.com email address, but the brand is now Outlook.
"It’s not a light brand decision," said Dharmesh Mehta, senior director of product management for Outlook.com and SkyDrive. "I don’t know of any other company that has hundreds of thousands of users and has changed the brand name. But this is something new, an opportunity to set us up for the future."
Like the competing Google Play / Gmail / Picasa / Android fun and the iPhone / iTunes / Mac & cloud digital lifestyles, Microsoft has taken a giant leap into touch tablets and phones with Microsoft 8 and Outlook.com is but a part of the current revamping. Office 365 puts your work in the cloud, Surface is their answer to tablets. With all that going on, a name change on webmail may not seem like such a big idea, but 300 million users will notice the change. I predict that a few million of those will want their old Hotmail back - people don't really like change.
Across the board, Microsoft is trying to reinvent all its products to embrace the cloud. And that meant that as its Outlook email was updated, the company knew it needed to have a better Web-based component. Since starting the beta testing for Outlook.com six months ago, the service has grown to have 60 million users.
In the end, having two Web-based branded services was likely going to be confusing for customers. Mehta said the choice of which to pick was tough, but clear.
"Outlook equals email for Microsoft," he said.
On a practical level, Hotmail users will be able to keep their old email and login information. But when they log in, the interface will be changed, or "upgraded" as Mehta puts it, to the cleaner Outlook.com look. And users will see Outlook rather than Hotmail when they use the service.
"There’ll be some bumps as we help people transition through this," Mehta said.
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