No need to be kind here: telling people you use Hotmail has been the Internet equivalent of admitting to necrophilia. But after a decade as a punchline, Hotmail just pulled off the biggest victory in the inbox game since Gmail. And it might just get you to switch.
This is starting to look familiar to the point of predictability. Microsoft takes something boring, partially broken, and thoroughly entrenched: Windows, Office, Mobile. Toss nearly everything ugly and uninspired into the ash heap, put smart people to work on it, and pack it full of Metro. Windows 8, Office 15, and Windows Phone have all turned stale things into vibrant, modern successes. And Hotmail—now Outlook—can boast the same.
It actually looks good
But, come on, is Hotmail capable of a makeover? Hotmail? Even the people who work on Hotmail will admit without reluctance that the name itself is one of the service's biggest liabilities. Nobody wants to say Hotmail. Nobody wants it on their resume, on their card, or shared over drinks. It's been stigmatized regardless of how good or awful it actually is—when was the last time you even checked?
So, say goodbye to Hotmail. Now it's Outlook. And against all odds it's damn great—Microsoft has turned the deserved punchline of the whole web's mockery and spun it into top tier webmail.
First—and this is no superficial dig—Hotmail-which-is-now-Outlook doesn't look like it crawled out of a late-90s sex dungeon, pulling its own cluttered, woefully-designed entrails in tow. The New Hotmail looks fantastic, and depending on how you managed to stomach Gmail's last facelift (or not), it might be the handsomest webmail in the land. Really. Simple, clear, clean—it looks like an expertly assembled IKEA drawer.