Fables of the Rebranding: Microsoft MSN Live Outlook Hotmail
What’s in a name?
If you’re Microsoft you revisit that question every so often – perhaps even too often if you’re talking about their email services.
Originally purchased back in 1997 for $400 million, Hotmail is currently undergoing its latest in a series of name changes and will soon be officially relaunched as Outlook.com. A public beta of Outlook.com is currently available, though it still borrows features heavily from the existing Microsoft Hotmail infrastructure.
Microsoft rebranded their newly purchased Hotmail (originally called ‘HoTMaiL’) “MSN Hotmail” in 1997 as a way of better integrating the service with their fledgling MSN web portal. The MSN integration introduced @msn.com email accounts but kept everything under the Hotmail banner.
MSN Hotmail became Windows Live Mail for a time back in 2005 but eventually Microsoft changed Hotmail’s name again – while Live Mail was still in beta – after a wave of complaints from confused users. Windows Live Hotmail officially launched in 2007.
In October, 2011 a substantially revamped version of Windows Live Hotmail was launched, though the name stuck…until today when Microsoft launched a new service, Outlook.com, that is intended to eventually replace Windows Live Hotmail and better compete with Gmail.
Outlook.com is available now as an open public beta and is designed to match the slick and clean look of the new “Metro” user interface used in the forthcoming Windows 8 OS due in October.
- by AWSC
- posted at 4:26 pm
- July 31, 2012