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When we launched the preview of Outlook.com, our goal was to build the best email service in the world, capable of scaling to over a billion active customers. When Outlook.com came out of preview, it was already the fastest growing email service thanks to your support. The last two months have seen the release of a new, modern Outlook.com calendar, a refreshed Outlook.com app for Android devices, two-factor authentication for your account, new international domains for people around the world, and the release of a preview of Skype calling in Outlook.com.
Today, we're excited to announce that we've completed upgrading all Hotmail customers to Outlook.com. Coupled with the growing organic excitement for Outlook.com, this has pushed us to over 400 million active Outlook.com accounts, including 125 million that are accessing email, calendar and contacts on a mobile device using Exchange ActiveSync. We're also pleased to announce that we're adding two new features to Outlook.com: SMTP send, so it's easier to send mail from different email addresses, and deeper integration with SkyDrive.
When Outlook.com came out of preview in February, it already had more than 60 million active accounts. However, Hotmail was still one of the most widely used services, with over 300 million active accounts. This made the magnitude of the process incredible, maybe even unprecedented. This meant communicating with hundreds of millions of people, upgrading all their mailboxes--equaling more than 150 million gigabytes of data--and making sure that every person's mail, calendar, contacts, folders, and personal preferences were preserved in the upgrade. Of course, this had to be done with a live site experience that was handling billions of transactions a day. With your help, we were able to do all of that in just about 6 weeks. We've spent the last few weeks ensuring that everything was completed in line with our high quality expectations.
We've been focused throughout the upgrade on ensuring that every customer has a great experience. We've been overwhelmed with the response so far, based on the comments we've received. Here are just a few of the verbatim comments that were sent through the in-product feedback tool:
To underscore the differences between the two services, here's a screenshot comparing Hotmail to Outlook.com. You can instantly see the difference in the clean new look. The chrome is minimized so your content is front and center, information is organized so that you can easily see what's most important, large display ads are gone and the entire visual aesthetic is designed to be fast and intuitive.
BEFORE: The final look of Hotmail.com
AFTER: The modern look of Outlook.com
Of course, whenever a widely-used consumer service makes any substantial change, there will always be some folks that don't like it, and that shows up in the feedback, too. It's gratifying in a sense because it means those customers loved the previous set of changes we made. With a communication service that is constantly evolving, we try to strike the right balance between bringing out major improvements and keeping true to what our customers love. Our belief is that as people start using the new experience, they will come to love it even more than they loved Hotmail. We are keenly listening to what our customers have to say, and we'll make the right set of adjustments to ensure that we make the experience as great as it can be. So to all those providing feedback: thank you and keep it coming. In addition, during the upgrade period we experienced a few service interruptions, and we've worked hard to respond quickly to each one. We know you rely on your email and for those who were impacted we apologize and appreciate your continued support.
Here are a few of the most common things we've heard about:
You can find answers to other frequently asked questions and more on this page.
With the upgrade complete we've turned our energy and attention to future innovation and to making Outlook.com even better based on your feedback. You've seen a number of these updates over the past few weeks, and today, we're starting to roll out a few more. We'll be releasing the new SMTP send and SkyDrive integration gradually, so it may take a few weeks before everyone using Outlook.com sees those new features.
You've always been able to send and receive email from other accounts using your Outlook.com account. But, in the past, when you sent email from Outlook.com using a different email address (say, because you switched from Gmail and are still using that Gmail address when you reply to folks), the recipients would see the email being sent "on behalf of" that other account. For instance, this could look like this:
We knew this was a pain point for some people, and could be a real problem if you had a hidden alias, e.g. when Bruce Wayne wanted to send email as Batman. So now we've made it so that email sent from a different account goes through that account's SMTP server. That way, the recipient just sees that account's email address, like this:
This should work for any email provider that provides POP or IMAP access. If you want to take advantage of this feature, in the Options menu , click More mail settings, click Your email accounts, and then scroll down to the section titled Add an email account:
From there, you can add a send-only or a send-and-receive account, and we'll configure the SMTP server settings as part of that. This new SMTP send capability will be available worldwide in the coming weeks.
There are a number of ways we've integrated Outlook.com and SkyDrive: a single Microsoft account for signing in, a shared contact list and set of connected networks, the ability to send large attachments, a shared header, and much more. Today, we're excited to release the direct integration of SkyDrive into the Outlook.com compose experience. When you're sending an email message, you can select files from your SkyDrive and we'll automatically turn those into the right thumbnails with links that have the right permissions tied to people that receive the email. When you insert pictures from SkyDrive, you automatically get a beautiful photo mail. And it's easy to edit the message, and add or remove files and pictures right from the new message compose experience. This new integration is starting to roll out today and will be available worldwide in the coming weeks.
Here's what that will look like:
We want to give a huge "Thank you" to all of you who have supported Hotmail over the years, for some of you, that's going back as far as 1996. It has been an amazing journey and we've been honored to provide you with a great mail experience for many years. When we launched the original preview of Outlook.com, we knew that we were committing to building the world's best email with a brand and product experience that spans from consumers all the way to the largest organizations. We're excited to have you join Outlook.com as we write the next chapter in modern email from Microsoft.
Thank you for all the feedback along the way and everything you did to help make Outlook.com the best and fastest growing personal email out there. We're excited to keep hearing from you and there's a lot more to come. Welcome to the new Outlook.com and onwards to a billion inboxes!
-- Dick Craddock, Group Program Manager, Outlook.com
(This post was updated to clarify that the SMTP send capability would also be rolling out over a period of a few weeks.)
One of the feature that is needed is the ability to respond with alias with Windows Phone and also with send-only or a send-and-receive account
Hi Steve, If I want to add Send-Only accout so I can send via custom smtp server from my custom domain, it tells me I already have that account setup (since my primary MS account name IS that custom domain). So there is either a bug or the feature you#re talking about is not enabled on my account yet... :-)
Thanks, Steve! I love what I'm hearing, let's give it a second try!
Hey Guys from MS: I wanted to switch from Gmail to Outlook.com and use the SMTP feature. However, even though I use the absolutely right credentials, Outlook.com says that it can't connect to my Email providers SMTP server. (Austria, AON, email.aon.at, port 587, requires TSL)
Same settings over at Gmail - no problem at all. Please look into this issue, since I really want to switch to Outlook.com!!!!!
When the different send from addresses allow us to use different signatures, then this will truly be like Gmail. I'm not a GMail fan, but like the idea that I can send using different addresses and have different signatures based on each address.
SMTP send is fine on Outlook.com, but I'm greeted with Sync Issues on Outlook 2010/Connector:
Sending' reported error (0x80040126) : 'The operation cannot be performed because the connection to the server is offline.'
Outgoing mail is stuck in the Outbox
1 - Filters are very, very, very simple.
2 - Some emails never come, and are not classified as SPAM or in trash.
3 - Delayed send/delete feature is very necessary too.
My updated version of outlook.com does not look like your screenshot above. There is nothing on the right side after the date column.
SPELL CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need this feature.
Great that when adding “a send-and-receive account” Outlook.com sends email using the provider's server (recipient will not see the Outlook address) and you can even specify POP and SMTP server settings. However, when adding “a send-only account” (my email is forwarded to my Outlook.com account), Outlook.com still uses its own server to send emails. Please add the option to use the provider's server in this case.
Please consider these improvements for next releases:
1 - Enable dragging and dropping attachments to and save from messages (when respectively composing and reading mail)
2 - Regarding Rules (/Sweep): Add “Mark as read” and “Move to Deleted” as options to the available Actions & enable multiple actions per rule instead of only one (for example: Move to specific folder, Flag and Mark as read)
3 - Reading pane is really convenient, except that after deleting/moving a message the next message is automatically shown and that one gets marked as read. When using the reading pane, automatically marking the next message as read isn’t convenient. Therefore i would like to suggest the following: Add ‘Show a message only after I select it after deleting/moving a message’ (like the already existing option for Reading Pane ‘When you first open your inbox or another folder, set the reading pane to: Show a message only after I select it’)
4 - Add a Format Painter feature to the ‘toolbar’ of the composing/reply pane
5 - As SkyDrive.com has pdf viewing capability, pdf files should be viewable from within Outlook.com as well (like pictures Active View). Also make the icon for pdf files consistent with the one for office files (pdf: Open, Download while for Office files it is: Download, View Online)
6 - The option to toggle between "Reply" and "Reply All" as the default option is convenient, but please add a toggle to switch between reply/reply all/forward *after* having started to reply
7 - Add ability to save attachments directly to SkyDrive
8 - Add the following option to Default "From" address (Options > Your email accounts): send from the same address the message was sent to; especially useful when you have added send-only or send-and-receive accounts to your outlook.com acccount. e.g. if I receive email from my work address, when I click reply, the reply should be sent from my work address in this case.
9 - Multiple (custom) signatures according to the send-as address. E.g. if I want to send email from my outlook.com address, it should use my outlook.com signature. If I send email with my aggregated address, it should use that signature.
Can you enable sending emails from aliasses, “send-and-receive accounts” & “send-only accounts” from within Outlook 2013 & the Outlook apps for Windows Phone and Android
Dear Mr. Craddock,
Could you please ensure that the number of aliases increase from 10 to 15 as it was before?
Microsoft continues to make mistake after mistake. First the Windows 8 fiasco, coupled with the failure of Surface. Now it headstrong continues down the same failed path, replacing Hotmail with the now failed Windows 8 Outlook interface. The false claims of user adoption is not believable. Do a search for "I hate Outlook" and you will see reality. The new interface is like an empty barren Google page. If I had wanted that I would have had a Gmail account...which I will never use because I hate its interface. Thanks for ruining a once great interface. I am currently seeking a permanent alternative to both platforms: Google and Microsoft.
@ObscenePanda - the feature isn't rolled out to all accounts yet, we've updated the blog post to reflect that, it's coming soon to everyone along with the new SkyDrive integration.