Farewell, Hotmail: Microsoft completes Outlook.com migration

All Hotmail accounts have now been upgraded to Outlook.com, Microsoft has announced in a blog post.

Those with existing @Hotmail.com email addresses can keep them; "you will always be able to use your Hotmail address. No need to ever change," Microsoft said. But navigating to Hotmail.com now redirects users to Outlook.com.

Outlook.com launched in preview last summer, and it gained 25 million active users in just under four months. Outlook.com earned four stars in Michael Muchmore's review of the product, with the software expert calling it an "impressive piece of work."

As a result, Microsoft has been moving users of its Hotmail service over to Outlook automatically. But in February, there were 300 million active Hotmail accounts; "This meant communicating with hundreds of millions of people, upgrading all their mailboxes - equaling more than 150 million gigabytes of data - and making sure that every person's mail, calendar, contacts, folders, and personal preferences were preserved in the upgrade," Microsoft said.

That was accomplished in just over six weeks, and the migration means that there are now more than 400 million active Outlook.com accounts, 125 million of which access the service on mobile via Exchange ActiveSync.

Along with the upgrade, Microsoft announced two new features for Outlook.com. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is available worldwide. It simplifies the process of sending email from a different email address without recipients seeing a message saying "Sent on behalf of..." The other feature is a deeper Skydrive integration in the email composing experience; that will be released gradually.