In a post on the Outlook.com blog tonight, Microsoft announced that Outlook.com, which launched last July, has shed its Preview classification and is ready to face the world, complete with a new marketing campaign and a new tagline “email that gets you going”. After launching as the successor to Hotmail back on July 31st of last year, Outlook.com is either, as Microsoft says “the world’s fastest growing email service going from 0 to 60 million in just 6 months”, or a service that in 6 months that has only managed to attract less than 20% of its (360 million as of July 2011) Hotmail user base to make the switch, depending on how you look at it.
In any event, after shedding the Preview tag, Outlook.com is ready to start the next phase of its existence, beginning with, according to a Microsoft spokesperson, a “broad, automatic upgrade process of millions of Hotmail customers to the Outlook.com experience”, and launching a large marketing effort “to inform consumers that Outlook.com is excited to provide the best modern email experience to billions of users”. Where, of course, those “billions of users” are going to come from is a bit of a mystery at this point, given that Microsoft apparently hasn’t been overly successful in convincing many of its current user base to make the switch, but whatever.
In the meantime, Microsoft has posted a couple of new 30 second spots on YouTube, the first in what will apparently be an onslaught of marketing aimed at getting those billions of users to give Outlook.com a try. Both spots use some of the same visuals, recut to show off some of the capabilities, and hopefully the cool factor of Outlook.com:
We’ve yet to see details on how the automatic upgrade process will take place, and there’s no indication that Microsoft will ever move completely away from current Hotmail or MSN user addresses, but do expect to be upgraded to Outlook.com sooner rather than later.
And no, there’s no word yet on Calendar or Skype.