Microsoft's Outlook.com gains 60 million users in six months

Microsoft's Outlook.com gains 60 million users in six months

Summary: In the midst of leaving the preview stage, Outlook.com has been adopted by over 60 million people, according to Microsoft.

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As Microsoft continues its attempts to lure users away from Gmail, the firm says that after releasing Internet-based Outlook.com as a preview, millions of people have signed up to the service.

The Redmond giant announced on its blog that it was "humbled" by active users of the email service -- which has grown from none to 60 million users in a six-month span.

Microsoft has taken Outlook.com out of its preview stages and it is now open to the public. In addition, users of Hotmail will be moved over to Outlook by summer automatically -- although you can upgrade at any time -- and you won't be forced to change your email address.

Outlook.com's final release features include the ability to send large files, address books that automatically update, approximately 60 percent fewer advertisements than Hotmail and the option to connect and update through social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Accessible via web browser, Outlook.com will work on Windows and Mac-based PCs, as well as Google's Android through a downloadable application.

Introduced in July to try and compete with Google's free Gmail service, Outlook.com is meant to bring together Microsoft's existing domains, including MSN.com and Hotmail, as well as come with a bevy of features to make it a worthy contender against other popular services including Gmail and Yahoo.

Email is often considered an important element in our daily lives, not only due to the expansion of mobile technology, but as a substitute for pen-and-paper communication. Businesses, however, can monetize these services through advertising placements as well as increasing brand awareness, which may make customers want to use other platforms provided by the same firm. Due to this, email service is a lucrative and expanding market -- something many tech giants want a slice of.

However, when money is on the table, it is not all about positive campaigns or offering the best product. Before this announcement was made public, Microsoft launched a campaign titled "Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail." Designed to mimic Google's distinctive color scheme, the television, print and website campaign intended to lure users away from Gmail by highlighting the practice of tailoring advertisements based on email content. Whereas Google said that the system is based on keywords and is fully automatic, Microsoft still used the tactic to try and sell Outlook's supposed higher regard for user privacy to secure more users.

Perhaps the privacy scare tactics worked. In an interview with Bloomberg, a senior director for Outlook.com, Dharmesh Mehta, said that a third of the 60 million active users on Outlook.com also use Gmail, but have decided to switch to Outlook for their primary free account.

To try and promote the service, Microsoft intends to spend millions on an advertising campaign spanning across television, print, websites, billboards and radio. The firm expects to spend up to $90 million in the three-month campaign.

Topics: Microsoft, Google, Mobility

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  • Add Photos to contacts

    Its truly ridiculous that you can't even do something as simple as add a photo to your contacts on outlook.com. That's truly a failure to deliver and almost laughable if it wasn't so sad.
    IamTiger
    • ....

      Its truly ridiculous that gmail can't even do something as simple like sync and update contacts from LinkedIn, sinaWeibo or Outlook Office.
      Its truly ridiculous that gdocs can't even do something as simple like open ODF or DOCX documents without conversion.
      Its truly ridiculous that google drop EAS support, you can't sync anything when you use BlackBerry, Windows Phone or Symbian (without using third part apps).
      Mr.SV
      • 60M freedom seekers refuse to be Scroogled

        People don't appreciate creeps reading their emails to make money off it.
        LBiege
        • Freedom seekers?

          I seriously hope that's sarcasm.
          Are you stupid or something?
          What part of "NO ONE IS READING YOUR E-MAIL" do you not understand?
          Naryan
          • Really because google employees were fired for doing just that

            and that doesn't even get to google selling the data they get from gmails to third parties
            Johnny Vegas
          • Have you been to the google sales?

            It's great, for only a few $ I can find out what you ate last week. For a few $ more, I can find out what you're currently thinking.
            Is that how you think google make their money (if I'd have paid the surcharge I could answered that for you)? How quaint.
            Little Old Man
      • I don't think IamTiger was bashing Gmail, just pointing out an Outlook fail

        I don't think IamTiger was bashing Gmail, just pointing out an Outlook failure.
        bradavon
        • I know that

          I know that, I bash gmail ;-) Gmail comparing to Otulook looks so outdated, beside the lacks I mentioned there is many more, like no aliases. And there is a gmail man who reading my mails, I don't like be scroogled ;)
          Mr.SV
          • Gmail bashing... odd

            It's odd that someone is so passionately AGAINST Gmail. I don't think I'm passionately against ANYTHING. I'm FOR things... and I happen to be pro Google but that doesn't mean I have to be anti Apple or anti MSFT.

            What's even more odd is that Hotmail, Yahoo and others have been around for many more years than Gmail yet when you survey what most professionals use for their personal email, 50% will answer Gmail. There's something to it. Outlook is just a clean design but once you leave the mail interface, it's confusing and not fully integrated with their other properties. I imagine they'll fix that eventually.
            LeftyO B
          • Where did you get the 50% number?

            I have both email IDs. Still, where did you get the "50% will answer Gmail."? Or, is this number regional specific?
            WW_Thinker
    • You must be confused

      Are you sure you've actually used Outlook.com?

      You could say the same thing about Gmail or Yahoo Mail.

      The difference is, in Outlook.com you CAN have photos with your contacts, and your contacts are integrated with Facebook too so you can see the profile photos from there lol.
      Tim Acheson
      • Not that I can see

        It'll pull in Facebook photos but you cannot manually add one.
        bradavon
        • Yeah, the People App from the Windows Store

          Also has the same limitation. You can modify photos for contacts in Windows Phone, though I don't see them propagating back to Outlook.com. This would be nice (as some people use rather weird photos for FB or Twitter when I'd rather see their face.
          grayknight
      • photos w/ contacts = great email?

        Really? That is the bar?
        LeftyO B
        • Well yeah!

          How do you know who you're emailing without seeing their cheeky chops smiling back at you from an image so small you can barely see it?
          What a pointless 'advantage', who cares what face they happened to be pulling the day they took their profile pic.
          Little Old Man
          • +1

            The photos I see most of people are: Frogs, Bat Man, slice of pizza, etc., etc.. You get the picture?
            eargasm
    • That is a weird one

      You'd think it was easy to add.

      Hopefully they're working on integrating Calendar too, right now it still dumps you back to Windows Live Calendar.

      The name is a good one but is also confusing, people think it's the same thing as the Desktop program.
      bradavon
      • "Windows Live" Calendar

        It is pretty odd that MS has yet to roll out the updated interface for Windows Live Calendar, especially now that the beta label is being removed from the Outlook.com services. More than odd: it's embarassing, actually. I love and use Outlook.com, but the clunky Windows Live calendar interface is truly awful and needs to go away.
        Jason Rossiter
        • Though I really love the services

          They all need much more polish and refinement. As noted above, the picture discrepancies between Windows Phone and Windows Store People App/Outlook.com People needs to be cleaned up with matching functionality.
          grayknight
  • Customizing is gone

    It has to be one of the most bland refreshes I have seen. I sure a lot of those 60 million actually switched back. I won't rant about it much because its a "free" email service. So if you don't like it you can move on to something else. Which I myself plan to do. Microsoft seems bent on making everything look "metro" like with very bland flavors. If you like that sort of thing, great! If you don't then I guess by Summer its time to find another Mail service. The thing I think will be confusing is Microsoft named the Outlook.com after a fine mail program that comes in Office and is also a stand alone program. Unfortunately that's going to confuse a lot of users of both services. Again, another move not really thought out by Microsoft.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376