SOFTWARE DABBLER Microsoft launched Outlook.com today, a completely redesigned webmail service with built-in Skype integration.
Chris Jones, head of Microsoft's Windows Live group, announced the launch of Outlook.com in a blog post. He said, "We think the time is right to reimagine email. So today, we're introducing a preview of Outlook.com.
"We realized that we needed to take a bold step, break from the past and build you a brand new service from the ground up. You already know Outlook via the Outlook desktop application-for PCs and Macs-as the world's most popular application for reading email, managing a calendar, and connecting to people. And you may have used the Outlook Web App connected to Exchange Server in your organization."
Jones continued, "Now, in addition to a desktop application and a service for businesses, we're offering Outlook as a personal email service - Outlook.com."
Outlook.com, which will co-exist alongside Hotmail for the time being, delivers a clean and slick interface to Microsoft's personal email offering. Open to the public now, the service also offers "virtually unlimited" storage and easy access to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google and Skype, in a bid to lure users away from Gmail.
Unfortunately, the Skype feature isn't available yet, but it will enable users to instantly video call with their contacts straight from the Outlook.com web site.
Microsoft is also talking up its Sweep feature, with which Outlook.com automatically "sorts messages from contacts, newsletters, shipping updates and social updates", making it easier to find that email you want. Free web office applications also come as standard, letting users view and edit attachments using Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Onenote.
If you want To set up an Outlook.com webmail account with your own user name, you can head over to the web site. µ