Microsoft Kisses Hotmail Goodbye and Turns Up the Heat with Outlook.com


Microsoft email inbox on tablet

Microsoft has openly admitted that Hotmail isn’t so hot, and that webmail, in general needs a major makeover. But now the company is leap-frogging over it’s popular Hotmail web service via an all-new webmail client, dubbed: Outlook.com. With a fresh coat of Metro, limited ads and unlimited data storage Outlook.com aims to give Gmail a cool run for its money.

So what does this mean for HTML email developers?

Will we finally see some support for the generic “margin” CSS property?

How long before it’s no longer necessary to test in Hotmail?

Microsoft claims that it’s not just a re-designed version of Hotmail, but a completely new, “built-from-the-ground-up service.” This sounded promising enough so I put it to the test. Here are the results from my investigation:

  1. It still ignores the following CSS properties: margin, margin-top, background-image, and position
  2. It still uses the “ExternalClass” container making it difficult to center your email.
  3. * {line-height:142%} is still imposed on your email by default.
  4. They still use Microsoft’s Calibri font by default.
  5. They still use the same DOCTYPE which means spacing will appear below your images in Webkit and Mozilla browsers.
  6. As it is today, Outlook.com does not appear to be compatible with FireFox 3.6.
  7. When trying to open Outlook.com within Safari on my iPad, it redirected to Hotmail.
  8. I don’t see any mobile apps availible for Outlook.com on my iOS.

You can find work-a-rounds for each of the issues listed above on Emailology.org.

In conclusion, it’s basically Hotmail under the hood with a fancy new design and a whole lot of new features. Bummer! I was hopeful from the beginning that Microsoft might improve their support for web standards.

To add insult to injury, Outlook.com seems to have upped their level of inbox SPAM filtering and security.  From my initial testing, every system-based email was redirected to the Junk folder, requiring me to add several incoming sender IP addresses to my “safe senders” list.

UPDATE: We will be releasing email previews for Outlook.com in the next few weeks. Our release date is scheduled for 8/24/2012.

More Outlook.com feature highlights:

  1. You can “bring in your email” – Have another email account like Gmail? No problem, Outlook.com allows you to import it so it’s easier to keep up with all of your messages.
  2. Outlook is modern. You get a fresh, clean design that’s intuitive to use.
  3. Conversations come to life with your friends’ photos, Tweets, and recent Facebook updates.
  4. You get free Word, Excel, and PowerPoint web apps built in with 7 GB of free cloud storage.
  5. You’re in control of your data, and your personal conversations aren’t used for ads.
  6. Outlook gives you virtually unlimited storage and less spam-and works on your PC, Mac, phone, and tablet.

For the time being Microsoft is offering the service in a “preview” mode and has not announced an official release date. While it advises users to upgrade, Hotmail subscribers can stick with the old system if they wish – at least for now.

6 thoughts on “Microsoft Kisses Hotmail Goodbye and Turns Up the Heat with Outlook.com”

  1. Michelle,
    Is MSFT planning on converting all Hotmail users to be on Outlook.com? Is there a target date for that? My advice to email marketers with a large number of Hotmail subscribers is to do a specific campaign to them asking them to add you to their safe senders list now, before MSFT makes the switch.

  2. Thanks for informing very crucial information. I think Hotmail is completely back dated according to other email version. Outlook is my favorite and I’ll be pleased if Microsoft managed to give new design of outlook express.
    http://www.dimafoot.com/

  3. By the arrival and popularity of e-mail web clients like yahoo and gmail it is a fact that hotmail had lost its popularity. Now Microsoft is more focusing on adding new features and to improve the looks of Outlook which is the popular used e-mail client in most of the organizations, colleges, schools etc. The new features recently added to Outlook were too good.

  4. There are third-party add-on applications that integrate Outlook with devices such as BlackBerry mobile phones and with other software such as Office and Skype internet communication. Thank you.

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