- Outlook.com will be given to all users of Microsoft’s services, including Hotmail and MSN
- Microsoft launching $90m marketing campaign to take on Google’s Gmail
- Firm has already come under fire for ‘Scroogled’ campaign depicting Gmail as a snooping service
Source: MailOnline.com, MARK PRIGG, 2/19/13
Microsoft today launched an all out attack on Google in the email world with its new Outlook.com service.
The computer giant is to force users of its existing Hotmail and MSN email services to use the system, which officially launched today, in a bid to boost its uptake.
The firm has also unveiled a $90million ad campaign – but immediately came under fire for the attack on arch rival Google in the ‘Scroogled’ ad, which depicted the search giant’s Gmail service as a ‘snooping’ service.
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HOW MANY USERS?
Google says Gmail has more than 425 million account holders, including those that only visit on smartphones and other mobile device.
The latest data from research firm comScore, which doesn’t include mobile traffic, shows Gmail with 306 million worldwide users through December, up 21 per cent from the previous year.
Yahoo’s email ranked second with 293 million users, a 2 percent decrease from the previous year, followed by Hotmail at 267 million users, a 16 per cent decline from the previous year.
During the preview period, Outlook attracted 60 million account holders, including about 20 million that defected from Gmail, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft says its new online service lets users easily send pictures to friends, and integrates Facebook and Twitter.
Microsoft is so confident it has the Internet’s best email service that it is about to spend at least $30 million to send its message across the U.S.
All users of Microsoft’s Hotmail and other email services operating under different domains such as MSN.com will be automatically converted to Outlook.com by the summer, if they don’t voluntarily switch before then.
Users will also be able to keep their old addresses.
‘Last summer, we released a preview of Outlook.com, a new modern email service from Microsoft,’ David Law of Microsoft said.
‘Since then, we’ve been humbled by the fast pace of adoption with over 60 million people already actively using Outlook.com.
‘Today, we’re excited to announce the next step in this journey: Outlook.com is coming out of preview and people everywhere can get started and give it a try at Outlook.com.
‘Today is a major milestone in our mission to provide people everywhere with the world’s best email experience.’
Experts say Email remains a key battleground, even at a time when more people are increasing turning to texts and instant messaging services.
The recurring email habit provides Internet companies a way to keep people coming back to websites, and gives people a reason to log in during their visits so it’s easier for email providers to track their activities.
Frequent visits and personal identification are two of the keys to selling ads, the main way most websites make money.
After keeping Outlook.com in a ‘preview’ phase since July 31, Microsoft today officially launched it.
To welcome new users, Microsoft is financing what it believes to be the biggest marketing blitz in the history of email.
Outlook.com will be featured in ads running on primetime TV, radio stations, websites, billboards and buses.
Microsoft expects to spend somewhere between $30 million to $90 million on the Outlook campaign, which will run for at least three months.
The Outlook ads will overlap with an anti-Gmail marketing campaign that Microsoft launched earlier this month.
The ‘Scroogled’ attacks depict Gmail as a snoopy service that scans the contents of messages to deliver ads related to topics being discussed.
The Gmail ads are meant to be educational while the Outlook campaign is motivational, said Dharmesh Mehta, Outlook.com’s senior director.
‘We are trying to push people who have gotten lazy and comfortable with an email service that may not be all that great and help show them what email can really do for them,’ said Mehta.
By Microsoft’s own admission, Hotmail had lost the competitive edge that once made it the world’s largest email service.
The lack of innovation left an opening for Google to exploit when it unveiled Gmail nearly nine years ago.
Gmail is now the industry leader, although estimates on its popularity vary.
Google declined to comment on Outlook.com. The company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., plans to convert all of its Gmail users to its redesigned format within the next few months.
Yahoo, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. revamped its email service late last year in an effort to provide a more consistent experience on personal computers and mobile devices.
Outlook.com is the latest in a series of major product leases from Microsoft, which has been struggling to regain the cachet that once made it the world’s most valuable technology company.
MICROSOFT’S SCROOGLED CAMPAIGN
Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign accuses its rival of invading Gmail users’ privacy when scanning the contents of their emails to target them with personalised ads.
The attack, the latest volley in Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign, comes with a website and is aimed to boost interest in the veteran software company’s Outlook.com email service.
It follows a series of Scroogled adverts last year which targeted Google’s controversial privacy policies.
‘Google goes through every Gmail that’s sent or received, looking for keywords so they can target Gmail users with paid ads,’ the website says
‘And there’s no way to opt out of this invasion of your privacy.’
It also includes a feed of quotes from Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
These include his infamous declaration that ‘if you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.’