From Hotmail to Outlook: A Brief History of a Pioneering Email Tool

Hotmail’s evolution towards Outlook is a story that illustrates the transformation of email services and their influence on communication worldwide. Since its foundation in 1996, Hotmail has left an enduring mark on the digital realmconsolidating itself as one of the most recognized email providers and laying the foundations for its evolution towards the modern platform known as Outlook.

Hotmail, the origins

Its origins can be found in the duo made up of Saber Bhatia and Jack Smithwho launched Hotmail on July 4, 1996 as one of the first webmail services on the Internet, offering freedom in the use of email and global access to the inbox. Name “Hotmail” was chosen due to its inclusion of “HTML”the language used to create web pages.

View of the login in the first version of Hotmail

in december of 1997, Microsoft acquired Hotmail in a transaction valued at 400 million dollars, at that time it is estimated that Hotmail already had 10 million subscribers. This acquisition allowed Hotmail to join the MSN (Microsoft Network) group of services.

Integration with MSN provided new development and expansion opportunities for Hotmail, by having the support and resources of Microsoft, one of the leading companies in the technology industry. In February 1999 Hotmail became the largest email service in the world with more than 30 million active users.

View of the inbox of Hotmail integrated into MSN year 2001

View of the Hotmail inbox integrated into MSN

Microsoft integrates Hotmail into Windows Live

Windows Live was introduced by Microsoft in 2005. as a comprehensive online service platform. One of the key aspects of this initiative was the Hotmail integration within the set of services offered by Windows Live. This evolution marked an important milestone in the history of email and opened new doors of opportunity for both users and Microsoft.

Windows Live was an initiative by Microsoft that sought to offer a variety of online services and applications under a single brand. Its main objective was to provide users with a unified online experience where they could access a wide range of services from a single platform.

Hotmail with Windows Live

Hotmail inbox in Windows Live

The integration of Hotmail into Windows Live brought with it a number of exciting improvements and features. One of the most notable was the revamped and modern user interface, which offered a more intuitive and user-friendly experience. Hotmail users now could access their email through the Windows Live platformwhich offered a suite of online services and applications, including instant messaging, cloud storage, photo galleries, and much more.

In addition to the new interface, Windows Live also offered a higher storage capacity for Hotmail users, allowing them to store more emails and attachments in their accounts. Email search and organization capabilities have also been improved.making it easier for users to find and manage their mail more efficiently.

Name change: Outlook is born

Over the years, Hotmail continued to evolve and improve its features. Added spam filtering capabilities, increased storage capacity, and a more intuitive user interface. However, In 2012, Microsoft decided to go a step further and rename Hotmail as Outlook..

Microsoft announced that it was completely redesigning the email service and that Hotmail users would gradually be migrated to Outlook. The migration process allowed users keep your email addresses by Hotmail and all your messages, contacts and settings.

Outlook brought with it a more modern and clean user interface, in addition to a series of improvements in the functionality and characteristics of the service. It offered a more intuitive experience, with improved inbox organization, more efficient spam filters, and a tighter integration with other Microsoft services such as OneDrive, Skype, and Office On-line.

Outlook inbox view

Outlook inbox view

The reality is that today, Gmail arguably leads the popularity index among users who actively use email addresses and their inboxes. However, Outlook has a significant user base and has experienced a steady growth over the years.

Photo: Depositphotos

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