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May 3, 2013

Now It Belongs To The Outlook
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:01 AM *

It’s the end of an era for the famous (and at times infamous) Hotmail service. Hotmail pioneered Web-based email prior to its acquisition by Microsoft in 1997. In making the move to, Microsoft’s online team will leverage the brand of the company’s widely used Outlook software, while seeking to bring its consumer email service into modern world of tablets, smartphones and other devices.

“We’ll have one clean story across Microsoft for how you get mail,” said Microsoft’s Dharmesh Mehta. “Outlook equals mail from Microsoft.”

It started in 1996 as HoTMaiL. Web-based email. Now … it isn’t. As of 03 May 2013 is deprecated.

Comments on Now It Belongs To The Outlook:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 06:29 AM:

It disappeared in the growing springtime:
The trees were budding, the students back from Easter,
And comments plugged all-new baseball jerseys;
The signal sank in the noise of the closing day.
What traffic stats we have agree
The day of its death was a spam-filled day

Far from its run-down
The bloggers posted on their Wordpress pages,
The maker Tumblrs were untempted by the genuine crafts;
By mindful tweets
The death of the service was kept from the emails.

But for it it was its last afternoon as itself,
An afternoon of IPs and routers;
The address-blocks of its data were emptied,
The storage infrastructure was backed up,
Load was dropped from the balancers,
The flow of its data failed; it became its archives.

Now it is scattered among a hundred redirects
And wholly given over to unfamiliar aliases,
To find its content in another kind of index
And be cited with a foreign quote syntax.
The mails of a dead system
Are modified in the files of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the flamers are trolling like toddlers in the threads of the blogs,
And the poor have the bad news to which they are fairly accustomed,
And each in his epistemic closure is almost convinced of his freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something worth writing a blog post on.

What traffic stats we have agree
The day of its death was a spam-filled day

#2 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 09:03 AM:

abi: Applause

Jim: The last sentence of your first paragraph reads like corporate-speak, not your usual voice. Is that a quote from Microsoft?

#3 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 09:06 AM:

The first two paragraphs are quotes (link in the opening phrase). They are indeed corporate-speak.

#4 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 09:56 AM:

I'm so glad I don't have to write like that for a living.

#5 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 10:57 AM:

And this becomes a huge problem for people who have used Hotmail, but don't use Outlook. (The first thing we do on any new computer is de-install Outlook; it's too much of a security risk.) Are these people going to have any way to migrate their archives onto something like Gmail?

#6 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 11:39 AM:

As I understand it the archives were ported to Outlook.

#7 ::: RVMan ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 12:21 PM:

Specifically, all 150 petabytes of Hotmail archives have been ported over to You can hook it into Outlook or Outlook Express on your home machine if you want, but you don't need to. The security aspects of the web version of Outlook I do not know.

#8 ::: Hugh ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 01:47 PM:, the webmail app, is not the same as the windows client. I was interested to note that they are trying to differentiate on privacy grounds, though I haven't read any external commentary on their privacy policy. I've noted it as worth a clean look if I start wanting a web-only email address, but for now I'm happy with my more traditional setup, so I'm far from an expert.

...and a bow to abi, who never ceases to amaze.

#9 ::: Karen Williams ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 02:25 PM:

I see they got rid of as well, which was going to be their Hotmail killer about six years ago.

#10 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 07:47 PM:

Outlook is sooo defective. They say it's designed for business use, but I can think of all kinds of ways Hotmail was better for that purpose.

#11 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 07:56 PM:

Abi, I laughed all the way through that post. That's just--twisted, that is. It's wonderful.

#12 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 10:09 PM:

Outlook not so good

#13 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 12:51 AM:

To be clear, is this anything much more than a rebranding (and perhaps a little interface update on the web-mail site)?

rm @4: I have at times written like that, not for a living exactly but as part of my job. The scary bit is when it comes naturally.

#14 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 02:27 AM:

A labmate and I have had an ongoing rant about this switch for months - he's fond of Microsoft's current generation of software, and I'm not - but we both agree on the absolutely abysmal reputation that Outlook and its progeny have.

You could tell me that Outlook webmail would make live kittens appear out of my computer, and I'd still avoid it like the plague. Besides, we have a cat.

#15 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 08:34 AM:

"Leverage its brand" always makes me visualize a bunch of sweating suit-wearing executives using a Heath-Robinson contraption with pulleys and levers to repeatedly slam a red-hot poker down upon the buttocks of screaming consumers delivered by conveyor belt.

#16 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 08:42 AM:

When I hear the word 'leverage' as a verb, I think of the pointy-haired folks in the corporate world. When I hear the word 'leverage' as a noun, I think of Timothy Hutton.

#17 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 11:01 AM:

Abi #1: That was a far from audenary bit of versifying. *APPLAUSE*

#18 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 01:36 PM:

Fragano, I love you. Too.

#19 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 04:47 PM:

I've never had a Hotmail account, but my cat did. However, sometime, Congress passed a law about online privacy for children, and Hotmail and many other companies reacted by banning anybody under 13 from having an account, unless a parent gave a credit card to demonstrate that they were an adult giving permission. And Spot the Kitty had given her real age (and species), which was about 3 at the time, and I wasn't going to give them a credit card to keep her account active. We recently noticed that she was old enough to get a new account there, but too late for that.

#20 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 09:45 PM:

I may possibly have posted under an incorrect email of ""

I've taken on a volunteer position that comes with an @hotmail address. It seems to still work much the same as ever. I'm still receiving mail on it. Although it is only two days past the deadline.

#21 ::: Columbina ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 12:05 PM:

I've had a Hotmail account for ages to sign up for things I don't want associated with any of my real accounts. As far as I can tell this is effectively just a facelift. Nor, as of yet, has the address become undeliverable (and poring up and down their FAQs and such it looks like they continue to plan to forward addresses to indefinitely).

#22 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:06 PM:

Anybody have any advice on how to print?
I click on the "...", am offered "print", click on it, get what looks like a printable form of an e-mail, click on "Print", get the printer screen and . . . it freezes up, and eventually crashes my entire Firefox.
And this is supposed to be more business-friendly...?

#23 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:23 PM:

John M. Burt:

I've never used Hotmail, and I seldom use Outlook, so this is pure guesswork, but have you tried printing the page through your browser instead of through the print button? I'd try getting that printable form of the email, and then instead of hitting any "print" button, going to the "File" pulldown of the browser window and choosing "print" from there. I'm guessing the odds are it won't work, but there's a slim chance it might, which is why I'm suggesting it.

#24 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 05:58 PM:

I haven't used the public web version of Outlook, though I've used the native client and intranet web versions. The current versions are vastly better than they used to be... which is faint praise, of course. Unless you need to use a corporate Exchange server, I don't recommend it at all.

Previously, the company I was at used Lotus Notes. It was sort of the Nikola Tesla of e-mail clients. Brilliant and powerful, but eccentric and sometimes nuts.

#25 ::: Thomas B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 07:58 PM:

My university's mail provider is I much prefer the "accessible" version of the Outlook web-mail application to the standard one.

To switch between them, go to the Accessibility settings page and check the box labelled "Use the blind and low vision experience". This should result in a much cleaner and (in my opinion) more usable interface.

#26 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:02 PM:

Abi, I love that, and I love that you can do that here and know that your readers will get the allusion.

#27 ::: John C. Bunnell ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 02:20 AM:

Just in case anyone is confused: despite what Microsoft's announcement seems to imply, the "" Web-based email interface has no connection whatsoever with Microsoft Outlook, the software that's part of the MS Office suite.

(There was a period when my local ISP's service came bundled with MSN, also a previous Microsoft online service. The various email addresses that came with that service, all pointed at "", are still fully accessible via

#28 ::: Alexander Kosoris ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 02:49 PM:

John M. Burt #22 - It worked for me once I found that "Print" was located in the drop-down menu under "..."

...the unfortunate part was that it took me close to 15 minutes to determine that "Print" could be found there; I'm so glad they switched to such a user-friendly interface.

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