The history about Hotmail and its transformation into Outlook

Checking your email from virtually any computer, as well as mobile devices connected such as laptops, tablets or smart phones being anywhere, today seems something normal and quite common, which indeed it is.

However, in the decade of 1990 things were quite different about using the internet, since it was not the service platform we know these days, but a limited tool that would look prehistoric and obsolete if we compare it to the massive and smart cyberspace that exists now.

For example, in order to have an email account and be able to use it, you needed to download a software specially design for this task to use such email account, until Hotmail appeared and truly revolutionized email service.

Since, Hotmail was the first free email service that worked completely online though its web page. Of course, until today Hotmail has had its own evolution, from being purchased by Microsoft Corporation to be included as a Windows Live service, and then changing its name to Outlook, with no doubt Hotmail has experienced fast growth and some big changes through its history.

How Hotmail was born

Hotmail was born as an idea that had Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith in 1995, who knew each other in the University of Stanford and started to talk about a method to communicate; some sort of email technology that could not be spied or seen by anyone, and it also would work through the web and not using additional software.

Like this, in a few months the idea was completely set and established; an email service that would be simple, secure, completely free and easy to access from any computer having an internet connection and browser, working completely online.

Having the idea of a new email platform online, Bhatia and Smith calculated they needed at least 300.000 dollars to set the project in motion, a money that neither of them had at the time to create an alpha version of the program.

In this way, Bhatia and Smith started to look for possible investors for the project, offering the idea until nineteen risk capital companies, with no results since any of them foresaw the potential of Bhatia and Smith´s idea.

Then, one fortunate day the two entrepreneurs would meet Draper Jurvetson; an interested businessman that saw future in the Hotmail idea, so he offered to invest the 300.000 dollars as initial capital with a fifteen percent share.

At the time, Bhatia and Smith worked in Apple Computer Inc. and they decided to quit by the time an initial capital for Hotmail was on the table, so they opened an office in Fremont, California. Along with Jurvetson´s investment, the two founders request a bank loan for 100.000 dollars, in order to have financial and creative control on the company that was about to be created.

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Releasing Hotmail and changing email service

A year later; on the 4th of July, 1996 and the day the United States celebrates its independence, Hotmail was released as an online service through the web, a date that was not chosen by coincidence but to symbolize freedom.

Regarding the name “Hotmail”, an exact reason Bhatia and Smith chose it has not been published yet, but anecdotally the first logo had a selective use of capital letters; being written “HoTMaiL” as some type of acronym referring to “HTML” as the computer language to write web sites.

Thanks to Bathia and Smith and their idea that later on became Hotmail, internet users had the opportunity to start using and enjoying email as a web platform, only requiring a computer, a web browser and a capable connection, without the need of using a paid software that had to be installed. A few months later, Hotmail already had a million users; a huge number at the time.

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Hotmail and the purchase by Microsoft

On December of 1996, only four months Hotmail was released the service already had at least a half million users, and that was only the tip of the iceberg. In detail, Bhatia realized about the huge influence emails could have on marketing and business strategies, since every message from his platform could act as advertising service.

Because of this exponential growth, Bill Gates; founder of Microsoft showed interest on Hotmail and him and Bhatia had a meeting in 1997, a time where Hotmail had more than six million users and counting.

In details, Gates wanted to buy Hotmail completely or at least the most part, so Bhatia asked him for 500 million dollars to buy the entire platform. At the end, the deal was closed at 400 million dollars; an amount that at that time was huge and surpass any expectations. Like this, Microsoft got almost three million shares of Hotmail and by December, 1997 the whole company.

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Hotmail and Microsoft services

Regardless Microsoft acquired Hotmail, the big company did not change its name and carried on using the brand as people knew it; it just add MSN to call it MSN Hotmail. Of course, Hotmail was integrated into other Microsoft services such as MSN Messenger, Expedia, CarPoint, and others, so users could use their same Hotmail address to use them any time.

Also, Microsoft added the possibility to open new Hotmail account in different languages, such as Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and many more.

And of course, since Hotmail was bought by Microsoft with the pass of time the email service was changed, in terms of design, functioning and other aspects, changing its initial logo and being more suitable to Microsoft´s layout in its services at the time. However, Hotmail´s main purpose and idea never changed.

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Security issues in Hotmail

Hotmail was far from being a perfect service, since many times during its history it was attacked by hackers, affecting millions of users and their accounts´ privacy by finding flaws in the platform. For example, in the year of 2000 users received mail telling them to close their account because the system was about to fall, since there were too many users to handle.

In 2004, Google released its own email service to compete directly with Hotmail, offering a more intuitive layout, more storage capacity and an easier attachment process of documents and images, since it was based on the cloud from the beginning.

In 2011, when Hotmail was changed to Windows Live Hotmail, the newest platform gave plenty of troubles to millions of users, when they realized they lost mails and messages saved for years due to its importance, what brought a lot of complains and it was enough reason for many users to change email service provider.

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Hotmail and its modern evolution

In the year of 2005, Microsoft renewed all of its services by integrating them into one platform; Windows Live, so Hotmail was now called Windows Live Hotmail, being the official released on May, 7 of 2005, giving the possibility to all users to migrate into the new and better platform.

Nevertheless, the biggest breakthrough so far in relation to Hotmail and its evolution was carried out in 2103, when all Hotmail accounts were migrated to a new platform called Outlook; being the way Microsoft ‘mail platform is known today, removing the Hotmail brand after almost fifteen years of using it.

In this case, all Hotmail accounts were migrated automatically and the layout and design was more intuitive, corresponding to the Metro interface used on Windows 8 at the time. Also, integration with other Microsoft services was improved, giving the chance to use Office, Skype, XBOX, OneDrive and other platforms in just one place, being a way to still competing with Gmail.

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What is MSN and Hotmail

People may not remember how life was before the internet arrived and changed everything. With access to the internet came things like Windows 95, online encyclopedias,  websites, and most importantly, emails and instant messages. Back in the time, these things were a huge change, and nowadays they are still a very important and vital part of our lives. However, most people don’t know what MSN actually is, and therefore, don’t know how many things they can achieve with it, so let’s break it down.

What is MSN and what it has to offer.

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Back in 1995, Microsoft came out with their famous operative system known as Windows 95, and with it came what would be known from that moment on as MSN, or the Microsoft Network. Basically, it was a series of programs launched by Microsoft that included the very first online email service ever.

MSN was the very first online email system to ever work, and it was a huge success. It allowed people with internet connection to send direct messages to other people in a matter of minutes. And although this concept keeps working nowadays, it has changed dramatically.

MSN today.

In the present time, people don’t refer to their emails as MSN, actually, MSN as it was launched back in 95’, only lasted up until 2007, when it was replaced for a new service known as Windows Live Hotmail. Yes, as a matter of fact, Hotmail lasted a long time, until it was replaced for Outlook, however, people can still use their hotmail address.

MSN and Hotmail.

Hotmail is basically the updated and recent version of MSN, and of course, it is still one of the many programs and services Microsoft has to offer. Hotmail is known for being one of the biggest online email services ever (alongside with Gmail), even tho it is discontinued and it goes by the name Outlook now.

Things you can do with Hotmail.

Hotmail, or Outlook (same thing, just different name), actually has a great variety of tools and options people can use just by simply owning a hotmail account. With your account, you can send direct or multiple messages, depending on what you want or need, and the other person will get them in real time.

But not only can you send messages, you can also include items like photos, documents, different archives, videos and so much more on every message you want to send, making this service incredibly useful. Also, you can type the email you want to send and keep them in your drafts so all you have to do later, is hit send.

Update to Outlook.

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Outlook is the most recent update of MSN, and it seriously shows some really great improvements for all its users. If you already have a Hotmail account, you don’t have to worry and try to change it to Outlook, the system instantly redirects you to the page the moment you sign in, meaning you can still have your old Hotmail account and enjoy all the benefits that Outlook has to offer.

Benefits of using Outlook.

As shown before, using outlook is so much more than just sending and receiving emails. One of the best improvements that were added to this platform, was making every Microsoft Office program available to use through your Outlook account. Once you enter your email, you will find a button at the left top of your screen, and if you click on it, you’ll find an option to use every Microsoft Office program online.

From Word, to PowerPoint, to Excel, every one of them is available and the best thing is that you can use them online without having to download them if you don’t have them already installed on your computer or laptop.

By doing this, every time you use one of this programs, every document you create will be save automatically on the cloud, meaning it won’t occupy any storage or memory space on your laptop. This allows you not only to access your documents from every computer with internet connection, but also to have a copy of them just in case your original documents are erased or lost. And, what’s even better about Outlook and Microsoft Office online, is that you can download and save the files on your laptop if you wish to do so.

Create an Hotmail account.

If you don’t already have one, and you really want to make the most out of your online email, then you need to create your own Outlook account. To do this, you need to go their main page here, click on create an account, and that’s it! The page will require you to fill up some personal information they need, choose your email address, your password and customize some other aspects and that’s it!

Learn to use Hotmail or Outlook.

Once you have made your account, the next step is to learn how to use it. Outlook has a really clean and simple interface that makes it easy to use and understand. You will see all your recent emails right in front of you, meaning every email you contacts send you will appear right on the homepage of the website.

Things like your drafts, spam emails, sent emails and more will appear on the left side of your screen so you can click on them whenever you need to check them up. Also, and definitely a plus of having Outlook, is that it is connected to your Skype account. Meaning that if you created your Skype using your hotmail or Outlook address, then it will automatically link up with it, so you will be able to check our your unseen chats, contacts and more!

Using a Hotmail or Outlook email is honestly really simple for everyone. All you need is a computer, a laptop (or even your phone), internet connection and some time to get the hang of it, but once you have managed how to use this platform, you will find how much easier it is going to make your life.