Microsoft replaces Hotmail with Outlook.com

  • Microsoft is revamping its free webmail service and renaming it Outlook.com.

    The firm will drop the Hotmail name it has used since acquiring the product in 1998.

    The move comes in a bid to tackle the problem of "cluttered" inboxes by organizing messages as they arrive. It will also allow users to make Internet calls on Skype.

    Industry analysts suggest the shift has been designed to lure users away from Google's rival Gmail service.

    In addition, Microsoft is also seeking to link the Outlook account with other services users may be subscribed to.

    "We are giving you the first email service that is connected to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google, and soon, Skype, to bring relevant context and communications to your email," the company said on its blog.

    "In the Outlook.com inbox, your personal email comes alive with photos of your friends, recent status updates and tweets that your friend has shared with you, the ability to chat and video call - all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks."

    The service is currently on offer in a "preview" mode until an official release date is announced.