Migration from MSN to Windows Live Hotmail begins this week in the Netherlands

After the wordwide launch of Windows Live Hotmail at the beginning of June, migration of MSN Hotmail users over to the new platform is set to begin this week. Using the Netherlands as the first test market, the remaining MSN Hotmail users will be moved over to the new platform, which according to mess.be is only 35% of the total Dutch Hotmail users. The Dutch really do love Windows Live, which is probably why they are the only market currently to have @live email signups officially open. Got to keep waiting for those @live.com addresses I’m afraid!

We grabbed Ben Poon, Program Manager for Windows Live Hotmail, and asked him a few questions. Continued after the jump as it is fairly lengthy. Thanks to Ben for taking a few minutes out :)

LS: Tell us a little about yourself Ben. 

BP: I am a Program Manager in Windows Live Hotmail, currently focusing on the coordination of the worldwide migrations. I also was the coordinator for the worldwide launch in May, which was a blast.

LS: Can you talk us through the migration process that is starting later this week? What will the NL users see?

BP: The worldwide launch of Windows Live Hotmail in May was the first step in moving our entire user base to the new, improved service. The launch enabled new account registrations to get directly on to Windows Live Hotmail.

The second step in this big project is the migration, which is the free upgrade of MSN Hotmail accounts to Windows Live Hotmail accounts. This upgrade gives users the new Windows Live Hotmail experience, features, and added storage while automatically transferring the email address, messages, folders, contacts, and everything else along the way. While lots of people have already begun to self-migrate over to the new service, we’ll still be auto-upgrading the existing MSN Hotmail accounts to Windows Live Hotmail. We’re excited to begin this step in the Netherlands this week.

So what do the users see? In some ways, the experience has already started! Last month, we began redirecting Netherlands users who go to http://www.hotmail.com to http://mail.live.com. This Windows Live-branded site gives the skinny on Windows Live Hotmail and hints that changes are afoot.

The actual migration is seamless and happens behind the scenes. After an account is migrated, a user logs in and sees the Windows Live Hotmail experience with contacts and email content already transferred. That’s all there is to it!

LS: Why are you using the Netherlands as your test market?

BP: The Netherlands was actually the first market to launch Windows Live Hotmail back in November. This market was a great candidate for the first upgrades because 1) they’ve been launched the longest, and 2) a large percentage of customers in the Netherlands have already chosen to migrate over to Windows Live Hotmail.

LS: Can you share any percentages regarding take-up of WL Hotmail around the world, or in other markets?

BP: We have seen a very positive response from both existing and new Windows Live Hotmail users worldwide; unfortunately, I can’t share any specifics for now =]

As always if you have any questions drop them below and we’ll see if we can get them answered.