Microsoft has rebranded various products throughout the years. They would have been excellent PR initiatives if the final product names hadn’t been so bad. “Outlook” may now refer to a desktop email client, a web-based email client, and an online email service, for example.
As if that wasn’t confusing enough, we now had terminology like “Hotmail,” “Live Mail,” and “Outlook online app” to contend with. What words should you use? We will address all of your Microsoft email questions at the conclusion of this post. Is Hotmail still available?
Microsoft’s Email Services: Is Hotmail Still Around?
When you mention the word “Hotmail.com,” many youngsters nowadays have no clue what you’re talking about. Following our quick introduction, some younger readers may be thinking, “Is Hotmail Microsoft?” What has changed? What exactly is Hotmail these days?
Hotmail was formerly one of the most well-known email providers in the world. When Microsoft purchased it from its original inventors in 1997, a Hotmail login provided something different from most email inboxes: freedom from ISPs such as America Online (AOL).This version was known as MSN Hotmail, but it is no longer available.
Let’s fast forward to 2005. This year, Microsoft introduced a new collection of services and products aimed at improving the Windows user experience. This new suite was dubbed Windows Live, and it was inspired by items such as the now-open-source Open Live Writer and Windows Essentials.
As part of this effort, Microsoft intended to replace Hotmail email with a new mail system named Windows Live Mail. However, once beta testers grumbled about the move and said that they liked the Hotmail brand, Microsoft backed down. The firm chose Windows Live Hotmail.
In 2012, the Windows Live brand was phased off. Some of these services and products were directly incorporated into the Windows operating system (as applications for Windows 8 and 10), while others were split and continued on their own (Windows Live Search became Bing, for example).The others were just dropped.
Around the same time, Microsoft launched Outlook.com, which was effectively a rebranded version of Windows Live Hotmail with a new user interface and increased capabilities. Many people wrongly refer to this as Outlook Online, which it is not.
So, given this, is Outlook the same as Hotmail? To further complicate matters, current Hotmail customers were permitted to maintain their @hotmail.com email addresses, but new users were not permitted to open Microsoft email accounts with that domain. They could only generate @outlook.com addresses, despite the fact that both email accounts utilized the same email service.
Outlook.com is Microsoft’s official name for its email service, which was formerly known as Hotmail and Windows Live Hotmail. After everything is said and done, is it Outlook or Hotmail? That’s a tricky question.
Hotmail vs. Outlook: Microsoft’s Web Email Clients
The Hotmail.com website used to be the online interface for the Hotmail email service. There was no discrepancy in branding; the services were identical. Things aren’t that straightforward any more.
Microsoft debuted Office 365, a forerunner to today’s Microsoft 365, in 2011, one year before discontinuing the Windows Live brand. Office 365 was initially designed for commercial and corporate customers, but it was subsequently broadened to enable regular consumers as well.
In 2015, Microsoft published a set of online applications named “Outlook on the web” (previously Outlook Web App) as part of their push for Office 365. Microsoft Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, Outlook People, and Outlook Tasks were all part of this package.
The most significant is Outlook Mail, which is the current equivalent of the old Hotmail interface. Remember when Microsoft changed the name of its email service to Outlook.com? The front-end is Outlook Mail, while the back-end is Outlook.com.
Many individuals, like Outlook.com, mistake Outlook Mail with Outlook Online. Outlook Online, once again, does not exist.
To be clear, Outlook Mail is the online email client, and Outlook.live.com is the real email service provided by Microsoft. With a Microsoft email account, you utilize the former to see the latter. You should pick between Microsoft Outlook’s online and desktop apps based on your needs.
Microsoft’s perplexing brand strategy has permeated their desktop products as well. For a long time, “Outlook” was synonymous with Microsoft’s desktop email client. That word grew unnecessarily convoluted, and the whole Outlook vs. Hotmail controversy is at the center of it all.
Outlook first appeared on MS-DOS, even before Windows 3.1. However, it didn’t gain momentum until Outlook 97, which was bundled as part of Office 97. Microsoft Outlook desktop client has been updated with each succeeding version of Office, up to and including Office 2016.
This desktop version is sometimes known as Office Outlook, although the official name is Microsoft Outlook, or just Outlook.
Consider Outlook Express, a now-defunct email client that was bundled with Internet Explorer in 1996. Despite the name, Outlook Express was unrelated to Microsoft Outlook other than the fact that it was also an email client.
In 2005, at the same time as Windows Vista was introduced, Microsoft Outlook Express was replaced with Windows Mail. This was most likely due to variations in infrastructure between Windows XP and Windows Vista. Prior to Windows Vista, Windows Mail could not be utilized.
Windows Mail was replaced by Windows Live Mail only two years later, in 2007. Remember when Microsoft tried to rename Hotmail “Windows Live Mail”? This new product has nothing to do with the one before it. Hotmail was renamed Windows Live Hotmail, while Windows Mail was renamed Windows Live Mail.
Except for Outlook, none of the above-mentioned apps are important with Windows 11. The planet continues to whirl erratically. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, you can use Outlook to improve your productivity and keep on top of emails, further complicating the service’s name and offerings.
Is Hotmail Outlook? A Summary of Microsoft’s Email Products
If you’ve made it this far and your mind is racing, you’re not alone. Microsoft shot itself in the foot with rebrand after rebrand, and keeping up is almost impossible, even in hindsight. If you’re still perplexed, here’s a brief rundown of what you should know:
- Outlook.live.com is the new name for Microsoft’s email service, which was formerly known as Hotmail.com.
- Outlook on the web, or OWA, is a web software that allows you to access your Outlook.com email account. It’s part of the brand’s Microsoft email web app portfolio.
- Microsoft’s desktop email client is Outlook Mail. It may be used with either an Outlook.com or any other email address.
Everything else, including Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail, is obsolete unless you’re still using an old version of Windows. It’s understandable if you’re questioning which email service is better between Gmail and Outlook at this stage; maybe you’re turned off by the ambiguity.
Are Hotmail and Outlook the Same?
Some life questions may never be totally addressed. The fact that you presently only have one of these providers to pick from helps to simplify the situation. Our inboxes, whether Hotmail or Outlook, function normally.
What exactly is Hotmail? When it comes down to it, what is anything at all? This trip was a rollercoaster, and we’re pleased we took the time to split these hairs. Hotmail.com, rest in peace.
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