Microsoft Previews Outlook Browser Version, Will Ditch Hotmail

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Today Microsoft Corporation launched a preview of a new browser-based version of email client Outlook, signaling a renewal for the webmail application and directly pitting it against competitors including Gmail and Yahoo.

“We think the time is right to reimagine personal email, from the datacenter to the user experience,” commented Microsoft corporate VP of Windows Live Chris Jones in a statement from the company.

Users can sign up for the new platform via outlook.com. The email itself provides further integration with social networking platforms including Facebook, Skype, Twitter and more. Other features including a sorting system, the integration of Office Web Apps, cloud service SkyDrive and  increased user privacy.

So with Microsoft turning Outlook into a browser-based platform in addition to its already presence via a desktop client, you’re probably wondering, “What’s going to happen to Hotmail?” According to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek, the company will begin to “phase out” Hotmail. The intention was noted by Microsoft’s Brian Hall who discussed the matter in an interview, according to the report.

That same news story noted that Hotmail had lost users in a year’s time. That’s different from both Gmail and Yahoo who have noted user gains in the recent past.

The change was announced shortly before Microsoft is set to release its latest OS in October. Windows 8 features a metro-style suited from cross-platform performance on both tablets and desktop computers.

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