“Foreword by Phil Aldridge, Technical Director of FunctionEight Limited. Interesting article and no doubt slightly one sided in its conclusions. Having been at a seminar in Singapore last week where Simon Khan and Todd Cione the CMO’s of Microsoft and Google Asia went head to head on their respective solutions for Cloud based email and collaboration I have to say that the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. For sure there are millions of people creating outlook.com email accounts but that certainly does not mean they are stopping using their Gmail account. The battle between cloud collaboration services has really only just begun and I believe in the end there will be arguments for using more than one solution since one size fits all approach is not going to work as the pace of development is too fast. You can have the best solution in the world but it does not mean people will use it forever… people will change just for changes sake and because they can. That’s the main driving force behind Samsungs market gains in the SmartPhone market in Hong Kong and many other countries. If you are not sure what email and collaboration solution best suits your business needs then please email FunctionEight at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.”
In typical Microsoft fashion, the company has announced a number of momentum numbers for Outlook.com and launched quite a few new features for its web-based email service at the same time.
Let’s start with the numbers: Microsoft says Outlook.com (formerly known as Hotmail), now has 25 million active users. Many of the service’s new users, Microsoft says, are switching away from Gmail.
According to the Outlook.com team’s numbers, one-third of Outlook.com users are active Gmail users trying the service for the first time. Microsoft also says that 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.”
Here is what this panel told Microsoft:
They prefer Outlook.com’s clean user design
Outlook.com does a better job of blocking spam and it outperforms Gmail when it comes to helping manage unwanted messages like newsletters and daily deals
Outlook.com makes it easier to share photos and Office documents
It’s obviously hard/impossible to verify these numbers for us, so it’s worth taking them with a grain of salt. There can be no doubt, though, that leaving behind the tired Hotmail brand for Outlook.com and giving the service a new streamlined look surely helped Microsoft to get users of other services to at least try Outlook.com.
An Android App And Many New Features
Besides these numbers, Microsoft is also announcing a slew of new Outlook.com features, including new customization options and color themes, keyboard shortcuts, one-click archiving and conversation threading, a feature that Gmail obviously helped to popularize.
Outlook.com users can now also switch between using “Reply” and “Reply all” as their defaults. You can find the full list of new features here.
Maybe most interestingly, Microsoft is also launching an Outlook app for Android (2.x and higher). Microsoft typically launches its mobile apps (besides its Windows Phone apps, of course) for iPhone first, but this time around, Android is getting the preference. There is a reason for this, though: Microsoft says that it is launching this app because Android devices “aren’t consistent in their native support for Exchange ActiveSync.”
Original Article created by Frederic Lardinois. (Follow him on Twitter)