Microsoft is making moves. In addition to a tablet, a new operating system, and a new suite of productivity products, this year it transformed its Hotmail webmail program into Outlook.com. Featuring the same look and features of the desktop program, Outlook.com gives users the accessibility of Hotmail’s web based program. Many tech pundits think this new reincarnation of an old favorite will be just the thing to kill Gmail, the fastest growing email provider at the moment–with good reason, too. Microsoft is taking the best of Google’s email client and delivering it in a fresher package.
Integrates Beautifully With Microsoft Products
The average user wants to work with products that work with what they’re already using. In a busy world that just keeps getting busier, people don’t have time to learn new interfaces and shortcuts. The less of the learning curve involved, the more likely the consumer will be willing to try it. That’s why Gmail users usually use Google Calendar as well. It’s also why Yahoo mail users often use Yahoo Small Business Services over other options.
Microsoft’s heavy hitting portfolio of popular products give it the advantage here. Microsoft Windows is the most used computer operating system in the world. Its Office suite of products contains the most used word processor and spreadsheet program in the world. Recently, Microsoft spent almost 10 million dollars on Skype, a wildly popular Internet phone and messaging program. Outlook.com integrates almost seamlessly with these products so if a user already has a working knowledge of Windows, Internet Explorer, or Word, he will likely feel comfortable with it.
Clean, Modern Design People Love Google For
Google has made its name on its simple product design. Recently when Gmail changed its design, many users complained that the program was cluttered, messy, and just plain unattractive. The ever present search box in the middle of the screen and the new toolbar to integrate services with its new social network were two of the biggest complaints. The clunky retooling had some long time users looking for something better.
Those users may find themselves more attracted to Outlook.com’s design. Its new minimalist, modern look meshes with the total redesign Microsoft Office products underwent with the 2013 release. There are still ads, but there is also lots of white space, easy to read font, and customizations that allow a little personalization without interfering with the clean design.
Unlimited Email Addresses For The Power User
Years ago, the desktop version of Outlook was the go-to program for businesses, schools, and other organizations that needed staff to handle multiple email accounts with one program. Using POP access, a user could read, organize, and send email several accounts from one inbox. It didn’t matter who the email provider was–Yahoo, Hotmail, a domain hosted email–because Outlook would act as the dashboard for all accounts. Later, as email users became more comfortable with web based email, Gmail became another way for them to manage multiple accounts because it allowed up to five additional email accounts from any other provider to be managed from one single Gmail login.
Outlook.com beats Gmail here with sheer numbers. At press time, there is no limit to how many email addresses users can add to their Outlook account. This gives power users with several email accounts one place to go for messages, adding convenience and efficiency to the process. And since users don’t need to switch email addresses to do so, even Gmail users can migrate over to Outlook.com without much fuss.