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Microsoft Throws Down The Gauntlet: Outlook.com Has 25 Million Users; Poised to take on Gmail

Sites include , . Published on November 28th, 2012. Written by Anthony West.

Email itself wasn’t started by Microsoft, but its widespread use and commercial applications was actually pioneered by the software maker. The launch of Hotmail ushered in a new era of communications and once the beast was unleashed, it didn’t take long for others to go into their labs and create their own monsters.

Yahoo entered the space with Yahoo Mail and Google made a late entry with what tuned out to be the biggest monster of them all with Gmail. Since then Microsoft has struggled to keep Hotmail relevant and despite the fact that millions of people use it, most don’t see Hotmail as their primary email service.

Outlook.com the Microsoft game changer

The arrival of Steve Ballmer at Microsoft has brought on an air of ‘cool’ and one look at Outlook.com and that confirmation hits instantly. Since launch a few months ago, Outlook has steadily gathered momentum (it had 1 million signups in its first day of launch). In August Microsoft announced that the service had surpassed 10 million registered users, now the software maker is claiming 25 million strong on the platform.

The new look Outlook has one-click archiving, more integrated keyword shortcuts, greater customization options and a newly released app for Android users. Talk about taking the fight to your competitor.

Gmail as you may already know is preferred by users for its ease of use and general savvy at integrating with external devices and platforms. Outlook has taken its cue from this approach and many believe that sooner rather later, Outlook will pose stiff challenge to Gmail.

Users have spoken (apparently)

In what many are calling classic corporate perception management, Microsoft released a report claiming that Gmail users have wholeheartedly given their support to Outlook.com. According to the company, after talking to “hundreds of Gmail users for a panel, 4 out of 5 of these Gmail users said they would switch to Outlook.com.”

Naturally there is skepticism among analysts but one thing that cannot be denied is the general receptiveness of users to the new platform. In an age where most people have email accounts across several platforms, the fact that Microsoft has managed to snag 25 million users shows user-approval.

Microsoft has also taken a bold step in snagging more Gmail users by launching its own native Outlook app for Android. The company has taken a different approach this round by launching the app first on Android—a move that will endear it no doubt to the millions of Gmail users. Apple’s iOS 6 will eventually get the app but for now is being pushed aggressively for maximum uptake by Android users. Microsoft has signaled to Google that it is beefing up all its offerings and no one area of competition is off limits. The company has going for it a fresh operating system in Windows 8, a growing smartphone in Windows Phone 8 and a search engine which keeps snapping at Google’s heel. It is clearly game on.

Google of course is always tweaking Gmail to keep users happy and so it will be interesting to see how they respond to the new Outlook numbers.

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