Windows Live Hotmail launches; “Windows Live Mail” to succeed Outlook Express and Windows Mail

By Kip Kniskern | Posted May 7, 2007 20 comments

Microsoft just announced that Windows Live Hotmail is launching globally in 36 languages, double the number of languages offered by its predecessor MSN Hotmail.  You can read the press release here.

I talked to Paul Major, Director of Windows Live Hotmail, on Friday to clarify some of the details of the announcement (unfortunately had a few technical problems with the recording, so we’ll work off my notes :) )

Here are the details:

  • First, what this announcement means is that new Hotmail accounts (and no they won’t have @live.com addresses yet. What Omar Shahine told us in our interview still holds true, and the first order of business is still the transition) will be created as Windows Live Hotmail accounts.  Existing accounts will be able to migrate over to the new service, but that ability to switch over will continue to be rolled out over the next days and weeks, as it has been already.
     
  • Current MSN Hotmail users will be encouraged to make the switch in the coming months, and Major said that the transition should be largely complete by November of this year.
     
  • Two new features are being announced:
     
    • first, within a few weeks the Outlook Connector for MSN beta will be made available free to all Windows Live Hotmail users. This means free access to Hotmail accounts will be available from Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007.  I asked Paul Major what that means for Hotmail Plus, the paid premium service that was necessary previously to utilitize the Connector.  He said that Hotmail Plus is not going away, and that there are plans for added premium services in the works.
       
    • next, and as we reported at LiveSide, a new beta to be known as Windows Live Mail will be made available “in the coming weeks” and will be the successor to both Outlook Express and Windows Mail in Vista as Microsoft’s free desktop email client. Major said that anyone using the Windows Live Mail desktop beta will be familiar with “Windows Live Mail”, but how much this new beta will be different from current builds of WLMd remains to be seen. Major said that in the future Windows Live Mail will be the only supported free email client, and all development work going forward will only be on Windows Live Mail.

(So, what was Windows Live Mail is now Windows Live Hotmail, and Windows Live Mail desktop is now Windows Live Mail, and Outlook Express and Windows Mail (in Vista) are being phased out. Wonder if there’s a Live Maps Collections for the name changes??) 

    • In addition, Windows Live Hotmail continues to improve the mobile experience.  Using Windows Live Hotmail for mobile (http://mobile.live.com) WL Hotmail is accessible on a web enabled phone or pda, and Windows Live for Windows Mobile, shipping with Windows Mobile 6 will provide an even better Windows Live Hotmail online and offline experience.
Posted May 7th, 2007 at 1:00 pm
  • AndyD

    w00t!

    Finally I can read the story and go to bed. :-p

    I can’t wait to try Windows Live Mail. :D

  • AndyD

    Oh, and is there any news on an SDK for WLHM?

    That would be a nice addition to the Live SDK family.

  • Kip Kniskern

    Thanks for staying up, Andy :)

    We’ll ask about an SDK. We hope to have more from the Hotmail folks soon.

  • http://khristopherr.spaces.live.com Khristopher

    They should have introduced this in a major way. This is the biggest news sine Hotmail came to be. It didn’t come in with a meow let alone a roar.

  • tophtucker

    Cool! Glad that’s all figured out. And I’m glad that Windows Mail and WLMd are being rolled into one.

    The question is, will WLM be bundled with Vista in the future in place of Windows Mail?

  • http://www.liamdaly.co.uk DN2004

    I wonder if the calendar in outlook 2003 will sync with Windows Live Hotmail Calendar

  • Chris

    Phunky: That’ll change over the next few days. This will be getting a lot of press for sure.

    tophtucker: I’d say no. Too many anti-trust issues around that.

    DN2004 – It doesn’t seem like it from this post http://mailcall.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!CC9301187A51FE33!42665.entry

  • Mango

    Urgh all that bold is not nice.

    Anyway you guys are leading the digg stories on the new Hotmail:

    http://digg.com/microsoft/Hotmail_to_be_replaces_with_Windows_Live_Hotmail_free_access_via_Outlook

  • Hb8

    Sad that Calendar will not sync. :-( Maybe in the future, maybe with WLMd, I hope.

  • http://www.wave3k.net the andyman

    Apparently Windows Live Mail will be launched in “late May” ( http://wlmailclient.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!533EE37965BE1EE4!112.entry )

  • Chris

    Someone else who subscribes to all the support blogs too ;)

  • http://techbuyer.spaces.live.com Custom Computers

    WOW! Have used for over 6 months as Beta Tester, learned it, changed somethingsi n the full version and now think it is a great suite.

  • http://yannick.vermeire.eu yanverm

    Today, since the official lauch, I experienced a lot of problems with my hotmail account in Belgium… (now after +/- 7-8 hours, it seems to run normal again).
    Some of the problems:
    - after login, the page keeps reloading automatically (you only see the header)
    - When I send a message, it automatically send it 86 (!) times to the same recepient
    - I receive the error message that I’m loged on to many different browsers (hugh, I work only with i.e. 7.0, on 1 pc)
    - Error message saying something like: “can’t load your mail for the moment, please try again later”

    Did anyone had the same problems today?
    (using windows vista, i.e. 7.0,live hotmail plus,live domains)

    A little reaction on the outlook connector… I also hope it will synchronise the calendar! The actual outlook connector (available for office live premium accounts) worked well during the beta period (with synchronisation of the calendar), but since office live has launched, the outlook connector stoped working for me… (I only have office live basics). Lets hope it well work back fully (!) for hotmail plus accounts… otherwise why would we continue to pay for it!
    (Of course, as backup plan, I can still use the “printed version” of the windows live calendar, liveside.net sended me in april, remember ;-) )

  • http://www.wave3k.net the andyman

    Also, just in case anyone is interested, Omar Shahine has said ( http://www.shahine.com/omar/AndWeveShipped.aspx ): “You’re never done and we’ll ship an update to Windows Live Hotmail a couple more times this year (everything from small hotfixes to releases).”

    @yanverm: an email sent 86 times :-O – how did you explain that to the person you sent it to? ;-)

  • aho

    the beta tag has now gone when i log in!

  • http://search-engines-web.com/ Search Engines Web

    This is great news, but why is this not getting the publicity it should be getting.

    As it stands now, 99% of everyone will not even know!

  • http://www.lifeinvasion.com zlinko

    I still have the beta tag. What I’m wondering is what they are going to offer to Hotmail Plus subscribers?

    I think I should renew my subscription… I really dont like all the ads.

  • AndyD

    I lost the beta tag also. :)

  • http://paulstorms.spaces.live.com paulstorm

    Beta tag is gone baby!!

  • http://yannick.vermeire.eu yanverm

    Andyman, about that mail been sent 86 times… it was send to an important client… I had the change he could laugh with it after all… but I don’t think I would try to do that again… He had to call me to ask what the ** I was doing :-)
    I told there must be something wrong with the upgrade of my mail software… (so microsoft, I didn’t blame your name :d). But that was not all, at the end of the day I still had to send some mails, but I received and error message in live hotmail & live mail desktop saying that I had send to many mails in the last 24hours… yeah right :d. I had to use the mail account of my provider back (didn’t use that anymore since 1998 :p) to be able to communicate…
    But I’m lucky now… I can send mails back… (so if you would experience the same problem, “just wait” till midnight, then you’re account is “reset” ;-))