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Recently, we talked about how we've reimagined cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. And we described new apps for Windows 8, updates to SkyDrive, and how cloud services power the new Office Preview, We've also been hard at work on a mission to reimagine personal email - from the datacenter all the way to the user experience. Today, we're starting to deliver on that goal with a preview of the new Outlook.com - modern email designed for the next billion mailboxes.
Webmail was first introduced with HoTMaiL in 1996. Back then, it was novel to have a personal email address you could keep for life - one that was totally independent from your business or internet service provider. Eight years later, Google introduced Gmail, which included 1 GB of storage and inbox search. And while Gmail and other webmail services like Hotmail have added some features since then, not much has fundamentally changed in webmail over the last 8 years - though yesterday's frustrations about the small size of inboxes are now things of the past. At the same time, email is becoming less and less useful as inboxes become cluttered with newsletters and social updates, and people increasingly keep up their personal connections in social networks instead of their email address books. All of this has led many to hope for a better solution so you don't have to settle for today's webmail.
We think the time is right to reimagine email. So today, we're introducing a preview of Outlook.com. We realized that we needed to take a bold step, break from the past and build you a brand new service from the ground up. You already know Outlook via the Outlook desktop application-for PCs and Macs-as the world's most popular application for reading email, managing a calendar, and connecting to people. And you may have used the Outlook Web App connected to Exchange Server in your organization. Now, in addition to a desktop application and a service for businesses, we're offering Outlook as a personal email service - Outlook.com.
Modern experience for modern browsers and devices. Email isn't just about the browser anymore. In fact, email represents 20% of the time we spend on smartphones, and is used extensively on tablets as well as PCs. Outlook is designed cloud first, so all of your mail is always available wherever you are. Its fresh, clean user interface gets the clutter out of your way-the header has 60% fewer pixels and there are 30% more messages visible in your inbox than the webmail most people are used to. And there are no display ads or large search boxes that take up extra space. Outlook.com also uses Exchange ActiveSync, so it powers your mail, calendar and people experience on your smartphone, tablet, and the new Outlook 2013 Preview.
Connected to friends and co-workers, wherever they are. Over the last several years, social networks have become an incredibly popular place to share and communicate with friends and co-workers. At the same time, email use among people who use social networks actively has continued to increase. We saw an opportunity to make email better by using your connections on social networks to enrich your email experience. And so with the Outlook.com preview, we are giving you the first email service that is connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and soon, Skype, to bring relevant context and communications to your email.
In the Outlook.com inbox, your personal email comes alive with photos of your friends, recent status updates and Tweets that your friend has shared with you, the ability to chat and video call - all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks. And, of course, you are in control of your experience - what you share, the networks you connect to, and your personal information.
Smart and powerful. Today's inbox is about more than just exchanging mail with the people you know -50% of the email in a typical inbox is newsletters and another 20% is social network updates. This is part of the reason our inboxes are overloaded and we often feel it's a chore to "do email." Outlook.com automatically sorts your messages from contacts, newsletters, shipping updates, and social updates, and with our Sweep features you can move, delete and set up powerful rules in a few, simple clicks so you can more quickly get to the email you really want.
People also use email to share photos and work together on documents. So we included free Office Web Apps -- Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote - which let you view and edit attachments without leaving your inbox. And Outlook.com comes with SkyDrive, so if you're sending photos, documents, or just about any other file, you can now put them on SkyDrive and stop worrying about attachment limits.
Putting you in control. Email is private and confidential, and most folks we've talked to want to keep it that way. So we keep your personal email personal. We don't scan your email content or attachments and sell this information to advertisers or any other company, and we don't show ads in personal conversations. We let you decide whether to connect your account to social networks, and which ones you want to use - and you're in control of who you friend or follow. And, if you're a power user who wants to really fine tune your inbox, we let you create your own categories, folders, and rules to tailor Outlook.com to your preferences.
And of course Outlook.com comes with the features you'd expect from any email service. Building on our past work with Exchange and Hotmail, we provide an inbox with virtually unlimited storage, industry leading spam protection, and rock solid account protection powered by your Microsoft account. Outlook.com also works great with the Outlook desktop application, and as you'd expect from a personal email service, it's free.
While today's preview is just the start, Outlook.com is ready now to become your primary email service. We're expecting millions of people to try it out. Starting today, you can get an @Outlook.com email address, and we've also made it easy to get started with your current email address if you want to.
Once you're using Outlook.com, you can also set it up on your phone (Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or other phone), tablet (Windows 8, iPad, and Android), in the new Outlook 2013 Preview, or in other mail apps you might use. And because Outlook.com supports Exchange ActiveSync, you can set it up just like you would your Exchange or Hotmail account. Have more questions? See our step-by- step guide to setting up Outlook.com on your phone.
Today is the start of our preview, which represents an opportunity to learn together as we roll out and scale this new service. We know your email is important and you need a service that puts you in control, and we're looking forward to your feedback. Once you're using the service, just click Feedback in the Outlook.com Options menu and let us know what you think. If you have questions about this post, feel free to leave a comment here on our blog, or join us on Reddit later today where we're hosting an "Ask me anything" at 11am PST. We have a lot more we'll be sharing on this blog, and we look forward to continuing this conversation with you.
A lot has changed in the last eight years, and we think it' time for a fresh look at email - modern, connected, smart, powerful, and in control. So try out the preview at Outlook.com. We think you'll like what you see.
You want me to make a credit card payment of 50 cents in order to give permission for my kid to have an address? Whose cockamamie idea was that?
The original name may have to be removed as an email alias at account.live.com/ManageAssocIds first, before the rename is possible.
Hey Dick, looks pretty cool. WIll be checking it out - Hotmail is my main mail.
One paranoid question. I have a paid MSN account. I'm assuming that accessing it via Outlook.com will change nothing in my data storage, that even after your preview is over I can continue to use my original unrenamed msn.com account as if outlook.com had never existed, right?
No problem on re-installing as long as I don't have to re-pay. I will give this a shot later today. So far I do like the new interface a lot. Thanks!
Outlook.com comes with virtually unlimited storage. If you're using the Outlook desktop app, you can export your email to a PST (just like with your other email accounts)
Outlook should always send email in UTF-8, or at least have an option to do so.
I have an existing Microsoft Live account that I log into with an @yahoo email address. I saw no option to change my email to an @outlook address (only @live and @hotmail) so I created a brand new @outlook separately. The problem now is that I cannot use the new @outlook on my existing live account. The error is: You can't use @outlook.com in your Microsoft account email address. Please try a different email address.
Great so far - what I am missing is a calender!!!
It's beautiful, as for the colors available i'd would made a grey or dark grey available too. The new look you're giving to alll Microsoft thing is incredible I just can't wait to see the final W8 in october.
from the outlook.com email page, how do you get to your contacts to enter a new contact. also, how do you get to calendar? on pc.
My Windows Live account does not have the Upgrade option. Is the Outlook.com preview being limited to @hotmail.com or @msn.com or @live.com realms?
Will the rename page http://mail.live.com/?rru=renameaccount be available for a limited time only, or will I be able to change my current @hotmail.com address to @outlook.com in, let's say, a year?
I have an existing Hotmail account but I didn't see the Link option so I made a new Outlook.com account and now I can't find a way to merge the accounts, any suggestions?
I see there's an option in my Outlook.com settings called "LINK A MICROSOFT ACCOUNT" should I use that?
I have the Hotmail account linked to my windows phone and I don't want to lose all my purchases and Skydrive uploads.
Hey Peter, if you go to the Outlook logo in the top left of the header, you'll see the drop down to go to People and Calendar