Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 1734
, Published on 25 August 2012
Until the introduction of Hotmail as a webmail service in 1996, it was a distant dream for people to own a personal email address which they could use for a lifetime. A few years later, came many services like yahoo, rediff, google etc. Email services came up with new features like better search features, good mailbox size and chat/call features, which was a strong reason for their establishment.
The introduction of Microsoft’s flamboyant Outlook mail service has triggered a variety of responses from the personal users.
Outlook’s Big Opportunity to Win
Outlook’s big opportunity to win comes from Facebook. Facebook is the Future! It has taken over the world by storm, and any newly launched software product has the necessity to be integrated with Facebook if it wants to stay on in the market. Microsoft has designed Outlook in a way such that it is integrated with Facebook, and people may choose to lookup their Facebook contacts and updates from Outlook. This connectivity is definitely a huge addition to a webmail service, which users would take notice of.
Flipside of the Facebook Opportunity
The Facebook connectivity we discuss about here, may also act as a threat to Microsoft. It might not be long before Facebook comes up with a webmail service of its own, which might provide far more attractive features and integrate Facebook itself to a much better extent. Facebook is already a standing example to how it washed away other social networking sites and made waves. Facebook may as well do the same to webmail, which could be their next logical step.
Hotmail to Outlook ->Where does it lead??
Outlook is maybe a reincarnation of Hotmail for Microsoft, but what does it mean to the users?
There has been a rich addition of features to the webmail service.
Outlook removes restrictions on the attachment size, since it has been integrated with SkyDrive, the cloud storage device. This comes as a major relief to all personal users, who face difficulties in uploading pictures, etc. through mail.
Even if Skype is not installed, users can now video chat through Outlook.
The Advanced Search option provides a good alternative to users who have accumulated a voluminous number of mails in their inbox. The other webmail services have only a single search option, whereas Outlook offers a range of search options.
Photographs sent as attachments have the facility of being viewed in a slideshow.
Mass messages received can automatically be categorized and put in separate folders
Microsoft also claims that there would be no banner advertisements which pop up at regular intervals, and users who do not discover fantasy in this, can now choose to be relaxed. But whether this will really be implemented or banners might be put up in the forthcoming months, time has to test.
On the user interface perspective, 30 percent more messages would be visible in the inbox according to Microsoft.
Outlook also provides an option for users to integrate Twitter, Facebook and Google contacts. It has a full support system for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) for the sync or backup purpose of this contact information.
Not really acan of worms
The major impediment for Microsoft would be the prejudice users might have towards other email providers; anything and everything that Outlook is fostered with, would be correlated with existing email services.
But apart from these, there do seem to be some discrepancies in the offering.
Outlook seems to work great on Explorer, but seems incongruous with other browsers. This is expected to be rectified in the forthcoming makeovers.
Navigating between messages is a feature that needs to be worked on.
There has been a notice on a few design inconsistencies, with traces of Hotmail here and there, but these are clearly not major disadvantages by which the user might choose to stay away from Outlook.
It is no surprise that with such rich features and facilities, Outlook has lured nearly 1 million users in six hours.
Webmail services like Yahoo or AOL, have remained dormant for quite some time, but it might just be a matter of months before Facebook joins the bandwagon, and this can be an issue. Outlook has already gone a long way from hotmail to the new Outlook.
This article has been authored by Divya B. from IFMR.