With the imminent release of the Windows 8 OS, Microsoft is doing a major overhaul on its services. Next up on the chopping block is its Windows Live (or Hotmail) web-based e-mail client. In a move designed to distance itself from the Hotmail name, Microsoft announced today a public preview of the new Outlook e-mail client, which is not just a re-design of Hotmail, but a service built completely from the ground up.
Many of you, like me, may have been surprised to be greeted with the new interface while trying to access your existing Hotmail account. The interface of Outlook is clean and clutter-free, and also, somewhat surprisingly, completely devoid of ads, and is very easy to use. Why are we talking about Outlook on an Android site? Because Microsoft’s first target with its new e-mail service is of course, Gmail.
If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is watch the Microsoft Outlook ad spot that has just been released, which clearly takes aim at Gmail, although without explicitly stating so. Let’s take a look:
As you can see, the first chalkboard drawing of “Oldmail” is the exact same as the Gmail interface. After pointing out various faults such as “cluttered”, “redundant”, and “creepy ads”, the spot goes on to introduce the numerous new features of the Outlook service. These features include connectivity across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkdIn, as well as video chatting using Skype. Microsoft calls checking e-mail a “chore” with other e-mail services, and hopes to provide an overall improved user experience this time around.
I mentioned earlier that I found Outlook to be very easy to use, with the best features easily being the ad-free environment and Skype integration. Granted, using Gmail isn’t close to difficult either. Gmail boasts over 425 million users and has recently announced Hangouts to enhance its video-chatting experience. After years of use, I think it’ll be difficult for a lot of Gmail users to make the switch over to Outlook. This might be a good opportunity for Google to “clean up” its own e-mail service if needed. For now, we’ll keep an eye out to see how this latest competition between the tech giants plays out.
What are your thoughts? What do you think of Microsoft Outlook? Should Google be worried about Gmail? What did you think of the ad? Let us know in the comments section below.