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End of an era: Hotmail officially replaced by

It’s official: Hotmail, Microsoft's long-standing webmail service, is being replaced by

The decision to replace Hotmail with was first revealed by Microsoft last July, following the launch of the preview of the new email service. Yesterday, the company announced in a blog post that is finally coming out of preview.

"Today is a major milestone in our mission to provide people everywhere with the world's best email experience. You'll also see us kick off a large-scale marketing effort around the world to show that can get you going," read the blog post. Microsoft also said that it will soon migrate all Hotmail users' accounts to the new service, but will not force them to alter their emails to the "" address.

Microsoft also said that users won't have to worry about any changes to their " email address, password, messages, folders, contacts, rules, vacation replies, etc." during the migration process.

The company confirmed that the upgrade is likely to roll out to all Hotmail users by this summer. Those wishing to sign up to the new service today can do so today by signing in at

For a closer look at the new service, check out our review of