Get your Outlook.com email address now, Hotmail definitely being phased out
Microsoft has told Pocket-lint that it plans to eventually kill off Hotmail altogether, with Outlook.com email addresses becoming the software giant's new standard. The company wants to perfect the system before any immediate action, but has confirmed that it will be consigning the 15-year-old Hotmail brand name to the bin in the future.
"Right now we’re not marketing or going out of our way to encourage Hotmail users to upgrade to Outlook," said Brian Hall, general manager in the Windows group and lead for Outlook.com.
“We will start doing that eventually and at some point will upgrade the whole Hotmail base to Outlook once we feel like everything is perfected for them."
One of the things that has to be improved before Microsoft starts to ask people to migrate is calendar support. "The calendar design hasn’t been updated yet so we will do that," Hall told us.
Skype integration is expected soon too, with Microsoft keen to get more out of the voip service now that it's a MS brand. "We have some things that we are going to do which we need to get done. One of those things is integration of Skype," explained Hall.
However, the general manager told us the time frame for the changeover relies mostly on the users themselves. "The key next step is on getting feedback from people using Outlook.com," he said.
You can switch over yourself at Outlook.com now. Or sign up for a new account.
UPDATE: Microsoft has just told Pocket-lint that Hotmail users will be able to continue to use their @Hotmail addresses as long as they want to, which is great news for Windows Phone 7 users who don't want to restore their handsets to factory settings. However, at some point on the roadmap, the company will stop accepting new Hotmail sign ups, prompting users to adopt Outlook.com ones instead.
"Hotmail customers will be able to keep their @hotmail address as long as they want," a Microsoft spokesperson told us.
"At some point, Microsoft may stop allowing customers to sign up for new @Hotmail addresses, but existing users will be able to keep their addresses."
Is Microsoft right in killing off Hotmail in preference to Outlook? Let us know in the comments below...