Outlook.com

Outlook.com is a web-based suite of webmail, contacts, tasks, and calendaring services from Microsoft. One of the world's first webmail services,[3] it was founded in 1996 as Hotmail (stylized as HoTMaiL) by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith in Mountain View, California, and headquartered in Sunnyvale.[4][5] Microsoft acquired Hotmail in 1997 for an estimated $400 million and launched it as MSN Hotmail, later rebranded to Windows Live Hotmail as part of the Windows Live suite of products.[2][6] Microsoft released the final version of Hotmail in October 2011[7][8][9] and it was replaced by Outlook.com in 2013.

Outlook.com
Outlook.com logo and wordmark
Outlook inbox features
Outlook.com inbox with open Skype windows
Type of site
Webmail, contacts, tasks, and calendaring
Available in106 languages
OwnerMicrosoft
Websiteoutlook.com
Alexa rankDecrease 4,038 (As of March 19, 2019)[1]
CommercialYes
RegistrationRequired
Users400 million[2]
LaunchedJuly 4, 1996 (as Hotmail)
July 31, 2012 (as Outlook.com)
Current statusOnline
Content license
Proprietary

History

Launch of Hotmail

Hotmail service was founded by Sabeer Bhatia[10] and Jack Smith, and was one of the first webmail services on the Internet along with Four11's RocketMail (later Yahoo! Mail). It was commercially launched on July 4, 1996, symbolizing "freedom" from ISP-based email[11] and the ability to access a user's inbox from anywhere in the world. The name "Hotmail" was chosen out of many possibilities ending in "-mail" as it included the letters HTML, the markup language used to create web pages (to emphasize this, the original type casing was "HoTMaiL"). The limit for free storage was 2 MB.[5] Hotmail was initially backed by venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. By December 1997, it reported more than 8.5 million subscribers.[12] Hotmail initially ran under Solaris for mail services and Apache on FreeBSD for web services, before being partly converted to Microsoft products,[13][14] using Windows Services for UNIX in the migration path.[15]

MSN Hotmail

Hotmail old screenshot
An old Hotmail inbox layout embedded in Microsoft Outlook
MSNHotmailInbox
The old MSN Hotmail inbox from 2007

Hotmail was sold to Microsoft in December 1997 for a reported $400 million, and it joined the MSN group of services.[16] Hotmail quickly gained in popularity as it was localized for different markets around the globe, and became the world's largest webmail service with more than 30 million active members reported by February 1999.[17] Hotmail originally ran on a mixture of FreeBSD and Solaris operating systems.[18] A project was started to move Hotmail to Windows 2000. In June 2001, Microsoft claimed this had been completed; a few days later they retracted and admitted that the DNS functions of the Hotmail system were still reliant on FreeBSD. In 2002 Hotmail still ran its infrastructure on UNIX servers, with only the front-end converted to Windows 2000.[19] Later development saw the service tied with Microsoft's web authentication scheme, Microsoft Passport (now Microsoft account), and integration with Microsoft's instant messaging and social networking programs, MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces (later Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces, respectively).

Security issues

In 1999, hackers revealed a security flaw in Hotmail that permitted anybody to log in to any Hotmail account using the password 'eh'. At the time it was called "the most widespread security incident in the history of the Web".[20] In 2001, the Hotmail service was compromised again by computer hackers who discovered that anyone could log in to their Hotmail account and then pull messages from any other Hotmail account by crafting a URL with the second account's username and a valid message number. It was such a simple attack that by the time the patch was made, dozens of newspapers and hundreds of web sites published exact descriptions allowing tens of thousands of hackers to run rampant across Hotmail. The exploitable vulnerability exposed millions of accounts to tampering between August 7, 2001 and August 31, 2001.[21][22]

Competition

In 2004, Google announced its own mail service, Gmail. Featuring greater storage space, speed, and interface flexibility, this new competitor spurred a wave of innovation in webmail.[23] The main industry heavyweights – Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail – introduced upgraded versions of their email services with greater speed, security, and advanced features.[24][25]

Windows Live Hotmail

Microsoft's new email system was announced on November 1, 2005, under the codename "Kahuna", and a beta version was released to a few thousand testers. Other webmail enthusiasts also wanting to try the beta version could request an invitation granting access. The new service was built from scratch and emphasized three main concepts of being "faster, simpler, and safer". New versions of the beta service were rolled out over the development period, and by the end of 2006 the number of beta testers had reached the millions.[26]

The Hotmail brand was planned to be phased-out when Microsoft announced that the new mail system would be called Windows Live Mail, but the developers soon backtracked after beta-testers were confused with the name change and preferred the already well-known Hotmail name, and decided on Windows Live Hotmail. After a period of beta testing, it was officially released to new and existing users in the Netherlands on November 9, 2006, as a pilot market. Development of the beta was finished in April 2007, Windows Live Hotmail was released to new registrations on May 7, 2007, as the 260 million MSN Hotmail accounts worldwide gained access to the new system. The old MSN Hotmail interface was accessible only by users who registered before the Windows Live Hotmail release date and had not chosen to update to the new service. The roll-out to all existing users was completed in October 2007.

Windows Live Hotmail was awarded PC Magazine's Editor's Choice Award in February 2007,[27] March 2007,[28] and February 2011.[29]

In 2008 it was announced that the service would be updated with focus on improving the speed, increasing the storage space, better user experience and usability features, and that sign-in and email access speeds would be up to 70 percent faster.[30] The classic and full versions of Windows Live Hotmail were combined in the new release. As a result of user feedback, Hotmail was updated so that scrolling works for users who have the reading pane turned off. It was also expected that Hotmail team would be moving the advertisement from the top of page to the side, adding more themes, increasing the number of messages on each page and adding the ability to send instant messages from the user's inbox in future releases.[31]

Support for Firefox in the upgraded Windows Live Hotmail took a few months to complete. By 2009, support for Google Chrome was still incomplete, prompting the Chrome developers to temporarily ship a browser that employed user agent spoofing when making requests to the Windows Live site.[32]

As part of the update, Microsoft also added integrated capability for instant messaging with contacts on the Windows Live Messenger service. The feature was the realization of a project that began as "Windows Live Web Messenger" in 2007, a replacement for the outdated "MSN Web Messenger" service that was first introduced in August 2004. It was noted that the original "Windows Live Web Messenger" featured tabbed conversations in a "conversation workspace", however since its integration with Hotmail this has been removed.[33][34]

Microsoft's search engine Bing was integrated into Hotmail in 2009 through the introduction of a "Quick Add" feature, allowing users to add search results from Bing into emails. These include images, maps and business listings.[35]

Windows Live Hotmail screenshot
"Wave 4" version of Windows Live Hotmail

On May 18, 2010, Microsoft unveiled the "Wave 4" update of Hotmail, which offered features such as 1-click filters, active views, inbox sweeping, and 10 GB space for photos, Microsoft Office documents, and attachments.[36] It also included integration with Windows Live SkyDrive and Windows Live Office, a free version of Microsoft's Office Web Apps suite. The new version began its gradual release to all Hotmail users on June 15, 2010[37] and was completely rolled out on August 3, 2010.[38] Exchange ActiveSync support was enabled to all Hotmail users on August 30, 2010, allowing users to sync their mail, contacts, calendar and tasks to their mobile devices that supports the protocol.[39] Addition of full-session SSL was released on November 9, 2010.

Throughout 2011, Microsoft added several new features to Hotmail, such as aliases[40] and speed improvements.[41] In October 2011, Microsoft unveiled a "re-invented Hotmail", and added many new features such as Instant Actions, scheduled Sweep, and Categories[42][43][44] and this update began fully rolling out on November 9, 2011.[45] This update also made SSL enabled by default on all accounts.

Transition to Outlook.com

Outlook Preview message add-ins
Outlook.com, with third-party add-ins within a new message preview

Outlook.com was first introduced on July 31, 2012 when its beta version was made available to the general public. Existing Hotmail customers could freely upgrade to the preview version of Outlook.com and downgrade back.[46]

Outlook.com graduated preview stage on 18 February 2013. According to Microsoft, the upgrade was deployed on April 3, 2013; the user kept their existing Hotmail accounts and received the option of having an @outlook.com email address. By May 2013, Outlook.com had 400 million active users.[47] By May 2014, Outlook.com continued to have 400 million active users.[48]

Transition to new infrastructure

In May 2015, Microsoft announced it would move the service over to what it described as an Office 365-based infrastructure.[49] This was followed in June 2015 by the introduction through an opt-in preview of new features, including new calendar layout options, a filtering service called "Clutter" and new theme designs.[50] Microsoft also introduced the ability for third-party providers such as PayPal and Evernote to include add-ins into the service.[51] Additionally, contact suggestions and updates from emails such as flight reservations are due to be introduced to Office 365 subscribers' accounts and Outlook.com users' from January and March 2016 respectively.[52] With the upgrade, users were no longer able to use the Windows Live Mail 2012 client to synchronize their email, contacts and calendar event using the official settings; they were encouraged to view Outlook.com through a web browser, through the Mail app, or through the Microsoft Outlook client.[53] However, Windows Live Mail could be configured to use the IMAP protocol (or the less effective POP3) to fetch mail only.[54][55] Microsoft concluded this preview stage in February 2016, when it began to roll out the new version to users' accounts, beginning with North America.[56]

2017 redesign

Outlook.com 2017
Outlook.com 2017 beta

On August 8, 2017, Microsoft launched a new opt-in beta toggle allowing users to test upcoming changes to the Outlook.com Mail, including a faster inbox, a responsive design, and the ability to search for emojis.[57] There was also an introduction of the Photos Hub, the fifth component of Outlook.com.[58]

On October 30, 2017, Microsoft announced that it would phase out its "Outlook.com Premium" subscription service, which offered features such as expanded storage and removal of ads from the user interface. These benefits were subsequently made available to Office 365 subscribers, and Microsoft will no longer accept new subscriptions to Outlook.com Premium. Existing Outlook.com Premium subscribers may continue to renew their existing subscription.[59]

The old interface, which dated from 2016, was phased out in mid-February 2018.

Features

Outlook hundreds bus W49 & 11 Av jeh
Advertisement for Outlook.com on the side of a bus

Similar to other major webmail services, Outlook.com uses Ajax programming techniques and supports later versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. Some of its features include keyboard controls giving the ability to navigate around the page without using the mouse, the ability to search the user's messages including structured query syntax such as "from:ebay", message filters, folder-based organization of messages, auto-completion of contact addresses when composing, contact grouping, importing and exporting of contacts as CSV files, rich text formatting, rich text signatures, spam filtering and virus scanning, support for multiple addresses, and different language versions.

One example of a feature no longer present is the ability to create custom domain names.[60]

Security and privacy

Outlook.com has promised to respect users' privacy, specifically targeting Gmail's privacy practices.[61] Outlook.com does not scan emails or attachments for advertising information and personal conversations are ad-free entirely.[62][63]

In March 2014, when former Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo was arrested for his involvement in 2012 leaking of Microsoft's trade secrets, Microsoft came under criticism for having accessed the email inbox of his French accomplice.[64][65] Critics claim these actions violate privacy laws[66][67] as well as Microsoft's own promises with regards to users' personal information,[68] while others have pointed out that such access is permitted under Microsoft's privacy policies in order to "protect the rights or property of Microsoft",[69][70] that it was necessary in order to prevent a crime intended to have inflicted billions of dollars of damage, and that such action on Microsoft's part is unprecedented in 18 years.[71] In response to the criticism, Microsoft has announced that it would no longer access private account information themselves in such cases, but would instead hand the investigation over to law enforcement agencies.[72][73]

Outlook.com uses DMARC specifications to provide better security for message transmission and Extended Validation Certificate to secure the user's connection with Outlook.com.[74] On April 17, 2013, Microsoft added two step verification to Microsoft accounts, thereby by extension to Outlook.com.[75]

Outlook also allows for a single-use code to be used instead of a user's password when signing into a Microsoft account. Each code can only be used once, but one can be requested whenever needed. If a user is signing in on a public computer—such as at the library or school—using a single-use code helps keep account information secure. The single-use code is sent to the user when requested during login.[76]

Active View

Outlook.com's Active View allows users to interact directly with contents and functionality within their email message. For example, any photo attachments can be previewed directly using Active View. In addition, Outlook.com provides a partner platform which allows contents and functionality from various websites and services such as YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and the United States Postal Service to be viewed directly within the email message. For example, users may view the YouTube video within Outlook.com when a user receives an email which contains a link to the video. Other Active View features include tracking of real time shipping status from United States Postal Service and performing social networking actions on LinkedIn or other social networking sites directly from within the email message.

Calendar

Outlook Calendar screenshot
Calendar, as seen in 2016

Outlook's time-management web application was first released on January 14, 2008 as Windows Live Calendar, and was updated to the "Wave 4" release on June 7, 2010. It was updated with Microsoft's Metro design in a phased roll-out to users from April 2, 2013.[77]

Calendar features a similar interface to desktop calendar applications such as Windows Calendar, and supports iCalendar files for users to import calendar entries into their calendars. It uses Ajax technology which enables users to view, add and drag-and-drop calendar events from one date to another without reloading the page, and features daily, weekly, monthly and agenda view modes. It also features a to-do list function for users to keep track of their tasks to be completed.

Calendar events are stored online and can be viewed from any location. Multiple calendars can be created and shared, allowing different levels of permissions for each user.

People

Outlook's contacts management service was originally known as Windows Live Contacts and before that, Windows Live People. It provides users with access to their contacts' profiles and information, allowing them to share different information with different groups of people. Besides an address book, People also provides integrated services with social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.[78] The service was rebranded to its current name in 2012, introducing a new interface based on the Metro design language that had already been introduced with Outlook.com.

Contacts are automatically updated in real-time, and the service allows for the removal of duplicated contact entries when imported with Profile. Users can also set limits on what parts of their contact details can be seen by others.

Tasks

Tasks is task management component of Outlook.com introduced during the transition to the Office 365-based infrastructure.

Office Online integration

Outlook apps shortcuts
The shortcut panel, which links various Microsoft online services, including Outlook.com

Outlook.com integrates with Office Online to allow viewing and editing of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents that are attached to the email messages. Users can directly open attached Office documents within the web browser, and save them into their OneDrive. Users can also perform edits to any received Office documents, and directly reply to the sender with the edited version of the document. In addition, users may also send up to 25 GB of Office documents (up to 50 MB each) using Outlook.com by uploading these documents onto OneDrive, and share these documents with other users for viewing or collaboration. Users can also save emails to OneNote.[79]

Skype integration

A preview version of Skype for Outlook.com started rolling out in the UK on April 30, 2013. This feature allows users to make a Skype video call within Outlook.com without using the Skype desktop client.[80]

Sweep

Outlook.com offers a "virtual broom" which allow users to delete or move large numbers of emails into specified folders based on the sender's information. Once a "sweep" is performed, the user may choose to configure Outlook.com to remember the sweep settings and perform the same move or delete actions for any future emails. Users may also set up custom message rules based on the sender's or recipient's information, the subject of the email, or attachments to the email. There is also an option to delete/move messages that are older than a specified number of days, or only keep the latest message from a sender.

Quick views and one-click filters

Quick views allow users to filter all emails (in all folders) by document attachments, photo attachments, flagged messages, or shipping updates. One-click filters allow users to filter the inbox (or specific folder) based on whether or not the email message is unread, from the People service list, group mailing lists, or from a social networking website. Categories appear under quick views for ease of access.

Aliases

Users can create additional, unique email addresses, called aliases, for their Microsoft account. As of April 17, 2013, users can sign in with any alias and create up to 10 aliases per year for a total of up to 10 addresses. For a given account, all aliases uses the same inbox, contact list, and account settings—including password—as the primary address. Once an alias is set up, users can choose to have all email sent to that address go to the inbox, or to a different folder.[81] Emails sent from an alias do not reveal to recipients that they come from an account with other addresses.

Keyboard shortcuts

The freeware version of hotmail.com provides a list of almost 50 keyboard shortcuts[82] for web users with visual impairment, blindness or other disabilities.

Mobile applications

Microsoft has released client applications for Android and iOS, allowing users to access their inboxes and send new messages. The apps were formerly known as Accompli, which was acquired by Microsoft in December 2014, and were rebranded as Outlook Mobile in January 2015.

Mail client access

Outlook.com supports email clients connecting through the following protocols, listed in chronological order:

  • WebDAV was used by Outlook Express but was discontinued on September 1, 2009.[83][84]
  • Microsoft Outlook 2002 introduced in Microsoft Office XP included integrated support for Outlook.com accounts.[85]
  • DeltaSync was used by Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector, a free plug-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010. Using the Outlook connector, users can freely access email messages, contacts, and calendars in any Outlook.com account, though access to tasks and notes requires a premium subscription. Another alternative for users is to use the Windows Live Mail desktop client, which had built-in support for Hotmail.[86]
  • Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) access has been made available for all Hotmail accounts as part of the "Wave 3" release, adding support to access Hotmail from any email client that supported this protocol.[87]
  • Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) support was added as part of the Hotmail "Wave 4" release, allowing users to synchronise not just their email, but also their contacts and calendar on any device that supports EAS.[88]
  • On September 12, 2013, Microsoft added support for Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and OAuth.[89][90]

Controversy

Popularity with spammers

Like many free webmail services, Hotmail was often used by spammers for illicit purposes such as junk or chain mailing and unwanted marketing, due to wide availability, service popularity, and ease of registration of new accounts.[91] Hotmail amended its service agreement stating that any account engaging in these activities would be terminated without warning.[92][93]

Requests for contact details

The ability to associate Outlook.com accounts with mobile phones or other email addresses was initially advertised as an optional feature.[94] However, an update in 2013 required many users to associate their accounts before the website would allow them to log in - a refusal which could be sidestepped by using an app, such as Windows Live Mail 2011 or 2012, to access the account instead of a web browser (and it remains possible to "associate" an account with a one-use, or otherwise 'disposable', e-mail address).[95] Some users also saw messages that their accounts would expire if they continued to use them anonymously.

US government surveillance

According to theguardian.com, several top-secret internal National Security Agency (NSA) newsletters indicate that Microsoft has allowed NSA to access chats and emails on Outlook.com, and implemented a bypass of its advertised encryption in order to facilitate government access.[96]

  • One newsletter entry dated December 26, 2012, shows that Microsoft had "developed a surveillance capability to deal" with the interception of encrypted chats on Outlook.com, within five months after the service went into public testing.[96]
  • Another entry states that "for Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption".[96]

In response to the report, Microsoft stated, among other things, that "when we upgrade or update products we aren't absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands" and that "there are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely".[96]

See also

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External links

AOL Mail

AOL Mail (stylized as AOL Mail.) is a free web-based email service provided by AOL, a division of Verizon Communications.

Calendar (Windows)

Calendar is a personal calendar application made by Microsoft. It offers synchronization of calendars using Microsoft Exchange Server, Outlook.com Apple's iCloud calendar service, and Google Calendar. It supports the popular iCalendar format.

Comparison of webmail providers

The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of notable webmail providers who offer a web interface in English.

The list does not include web hosting providers who may offer email services as a part of hosting package.

Get Help

Get Help, known as Contact Support before the Windows 10 Creators Update, is a built-in interface for communicating with Microsoft customer service employees over the Internet. The opening screen requests that the user specify a product and explain a problem with it. It also offers the user links to online help articles for business and IT support, Microsoft Store sales and support, and a disability answer desk.Once a problem has been entered, the user is offered a chance to review that and select a product from the following icon-based list:

Windows

Office

Xbox

Office for Mac, iOS, or Android

Skype

OneDrive

Microsoft Store

Excel

PowerPoint

Word

Outlook

OneNote

Azure

Band

Microsoft Rewards

Business, IT & developer

Dynamics

Edge

Exchange server

HealthVault

HoloLens

Internet Explorer

Minecraft Education

Mobile Devices

Mouse, keyboard

MSDN Subscriptions

MSN

Outlook.com

SharePoint server

SQL Server

Surface

Visio

Visual StudioAfter the user has selected a product category, the next screen presents links for solving the problem, device information, a call link with an estimated wait time, a scheduler, and a screen for chatting with an agent by instant message.Like Quick Assist, Get Help is updated through Windows Update, not the Windows Store, even though Get Help is built from the Universal Windows Platform.

”Get help” is also the name of a battle strategy used by Thor and Loki, which Thor enjoys but Loki finds embarassing.

Internet Message Access Protocol

In computing, the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is an Internet standard protocol used by email clients to retrieve email messages from a mail server over a TCP/IP connection. IMAP is defined by RFC 3501.

IMAP was designed with the goal of permitting complete management of an email box by multiple email clients, therefore clients generally leave messages on the server until the user explicitly deletes them. An IMAP server typically listens on port number 143. IMAP over SSL (IMAPS) is assigned the port number 993.

Virtually all modern e-mail clients and servers support IMAP, which along with the earlier POP3 (Post Office Protocol) are the two most prevalent standard protocols for email retrieval. Many webmail service providers such as Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo! Mail also provide support for either IMAP or POP3.

MSN Dial-up

MSN Dial-up is an Internet service provider operated by Microsoft in the United States and formerly also in several other countries. Originally named The Microsoft Network, it debuted as a proprietary online service on August 24, 1995, to coincide with the release of Windows 95. In 1996 and 1997, a revised web-based version of the ISP was an early experiment at interactive multimedia content on the Internet.

Microsoft renamed the service MSN Internet Access in 1998, focusing its main 'MSN' brand on its web portal of the same name, MSN.com. Today, the company still provides dial-up Internet access under the name 'MSN Dial-up' for those who cannot access high-speed broadband. For several years, MSN was the second largest dial-up ISP in the United States behind longtime leader AOL, but very few people in the U.S. still rely on dial-up.Along with dial-up service, MSN provides its subscribers with an @msn.com email account to use with Outlook.com and security software such as firewall and anti-virus programs. It also offers these extra features as a standalone subscription service for users of broadband Internet access named 'MSN Premium'.

Microsoft Messenger service

Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger Service, .NET Messenger Service and Windows Live Messenger Service) was an instant messaging and presence system developed by Microsoft in 1999 for use with its MSN Messenger software. It was used by instant messaging clients including Windows 8, Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft Messenger for Mac, Outlook.com and Xbox Live. Third-party clients also connected to the service. It communicated using the Microsoft Notification Protocol, a proprietary instant messaging protocol. The service allowed anyone with a Microsoft account to sign in and communicate in real time with other people who were signed in as well.

In April 2013, Microsoft merged this service into Skype network; existing users were able to sign into Skype with their existing accounts and access their contact list. As part of the merger, Skype instant messaging functionality is now running on the backbone of the former Messenger service.

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft, available as a part of the Microsoft Office suite. Although often used mainly as an email application, it also includes a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal, and web browsing.

It can be used as a stand-alone application, or can work with Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server for multiple users in an organization, such as shared mailboxes and calendars, Exchange public folders, SharePoint lists, and meeting schedules. Microsoft has also released mobile applications for most mobile platforms, including iOS and Android. Developers can also create their own custom software that works with Outlook and Office components using Microsoft Visual Studio. In addition, Windows Phone devices can synchronize almost all Outlook data to Outlook Mobile.

Microsoft account

A Microsoft account or MSA (previously known as Microsoft Passport, .NET Passport, Microsoft Passport Network, and Windows Live ID) is a single sign-on Microsoft user account for Microsoft customers to log into Microsoft websites (like Outlook.com), devices running on one of Microsoft's current operating systems (e.g. Windows 10 computers and tablets, Windows Phones, and Xbox consoles), and Microsoft application software (including Visual Studio).

My Windows Phone

My Windows Phone (previously Windows Phone Live) was a free online companion service for Windows Phone mobile devices from Microsoft. The service, released in conjunction with the launch of Windows Phone 7 on October 21, 2010, provides users with a free mobile phone back-up solution by wirelessly synchronizing contacts, calendar appointments, photos, and OneNote notebooks with a various tightly-integrated Windows Live services including People, Outlook.com Calendar, and Microsoft OneDrive. Users can access and manage their information stored on their Windows Phone devices via a password protected online portal using their Microsoft account. My Windows Phone also includes the Find My Phone service which facilitates tracking of a lost or stolen phone over the Internet or by messages. Similar phone finder services under various names are available for other families of smartphones. A similar service for Windows Mobile devices was available with Microsoft My Phone, withdrawn in 2011.

The service was updated on September 27, 2011 in conjunction with the release of Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" update, adding support for Microsoft Scrapbook and account management features including viewing app purchase history and reinstall apps from the Windows Phone Store. With the Windows Phone 8 "Apollo" update, My Windows Phone also added the My Family feature allowing parents to manage their child's accounts running Windows Phone 8. In February 2015 Microsoft moved the Find My Phone feature from the Windows Phone site to the Microsoft account website in preparation for Windows 10.

Office Online

Office Online (known before 2014 as Office Web Apps) is an online office suite offered by Microsoft, which allows users to create and edit files using lightweight Microsoft Office web apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The offering also includes Outlook.com, People, Calendar and OneDrive, all of which are accessible from a unified app switcher. Users can install the on-premises version of this service, called Office Web Apps Server, in private clouds in conjunction with SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Lync Server.

Outlook Mobile

Outlook Mobile (formerly Acompli) is a mobile personal information manager for Android and iOS devices.

The app provides unified communication functionality, as opposed to splitting email, calendar, and contact management functionality into multiple, focused apps the way Windows 10 Mobile's apps. Similar to its desktop counterpart, Outlook Mobile offers an aggregation of attachments and files stored on cloud storage platforms; a "focused inbox" highlights messages from frequent contacts, and calendar events, files, and locations can be embedded in messages without switching apps. The app supports a number of email platforms and services, including Outlook.com, Microsoft Exchange and G Suite among others.

First released in April 2014 by the venture capital-backed startup of the same name, Acompli was acquired by Microsoft in December 2014. On January 29, 2015, Acompli was re-branded as Outlook Mobile—sharing its name with the Microsoft Outlook desktop personal information manager and Outlook.com email service.

Outlook on the web

Outlook on the web (previously called Exchange Web Connect, Outlook Web Access (OWA), and Outlook Web App in Office 365 and Exchange Server 2013) is a personal information manager web app from Microsoft. It is included in Office 365, Exchange Server, and Exchange Online. It includes a web-based email client, a calendar tool, a contact manager, and a task manager. It also includes add-in integration, Skype on the web, and alerts as well as unified themes that span across all the web apps. Outlook on the web is navigated using the App Launcher icon which brings down a list of web apps from which the user may choose. In 2015, Microsoft started upgrading Outlook.com and Outlook on the web to use the Office 365 infrastructure, which was almost complete in January 2017 after the next version of Outlook.com was released.

People (Windows)

People is a contact management app and address book included in Microsoft's Windows 8 and 10. It allows a user to organize and link contacts from different email accounts. People has a unique graphical interface, unlike Windows Contacts' File Explorer-based interface, based on the Metro design language that had already been used for Outlook.com and the integrated online People service. In addition to being an address book, it provides a list of recent mail conversations with a selected contact. It used to also be a social media hub, in which users could integrate their social networking accounts (e.g. Twitter), but API changes in both Windows and social media services caused this functionality to break. People works with other Metro-style apps, but it has its own front-end interface and can be opened by end users. Unlike Windows Contacts, it does not currently allow users to import or export .pst files, vCard files, Windows Address Book files, or other files directly. Instead, it gathers contact information from email accounts the user has set up on other services in Windows, such as Mail and Calendar, Skype Preview, or the Xbox app. Changes, additions, and deletions made in the People app will be exported to the corresponding email accounts. Users can select which accounts should display contact info in People.

The People app supports Outlook.com People, Google Contacts, iCloud contacts, Yahoo! contacts, and other contact lists that can be imported by logging into an email account.

Scroogled

Scroogled was a Microsoft attack advertising campaign that ran between November 2012 and 2014. Created by Mark Penn, the campaign sought primarily to attack a competing company, Google, by pointing out disadvantages and criticism of their products and services in comparison to those run by Microsoft (particularly, Bing and Outlook.com). The original campaign focused on Google Shopping's change to a pay per click model, with later campaigns focusing upon Google's use of user data for targeted advertising, and the capabilities of the Chrome OS platform in comparison to Windows.

Webmail

Webmail (or web-based email) is any email client implemented as a web application running on a web server. Examples of webmail software are Roundcube and SquirrelMail. Examples of webmail providers are AOL Mail, Gmail, Outlook.com/Hotmail.com, Rackspace Email, Yahoo! Mail and IceWarp Mail Server. Many webmail providers also offer email access by a desktop email client using standard email protocols, while many internet service providers provide a webmail client as part of the email service included in their internet service package.

As with any web application, webmail's main advantage over the use of a desktop email client is the ability to send and receive email anywhere from a web browser. Its main disadvantage is the need to be connected to the Internet while using it.

Windows Live

Windows Live is a discontinued brand-name for a set of web services and software products from Microsoft as part of its software plus services platform. Chief components under the brand name included web services (all of which were exposed through corresponding web apps), several computer programs that interact with the services, and specialized web services for mobile devices.According to Microsoft, Windows Live "is a way to extend the Windows user experience". As such, Windows Vista's welcome screen provides a link to download Windows Live Messenger or to subscribe to Windows Live OneCare. Also, Windows Mail, Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker were not offered with Windows 7 and became an exclusive part of Windows Live. Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would see Windows Live apps included right out-of-the-box, and would include built-in synchronization technologies powered by OneDrive (then SkyDrive). The Windows Live brand was phased out during August 2012, when Microsoft released Windows 8 to manufacturing. Active Windows Live services remained active but were gradually renamed. The "live" domain, however, continues to be used in URLs for many online Microsoft sites.

In addition to Windows Live, which is mainly aimed at individuals, Microsoft brands other properties as "Live", including:

Xbox LIVE (a multiplayer gaming and content-delivery system for Xbox)

Games for Windows - LIVE (multiplayer gaming service for Microsoft Windows)

Office Live. Office Live merged into Windows Live during the Wave 4 update. Microsoft merged Office Live into the Windows Live team in January 2009.

Windows Live Admin Center

Windows Live Admin Center (Windows Live Custom Domains before November 2007) was a service provided by Windows Live that enabled users to have Outlook.com and all its features in their own domain names, which they had to have purchased separately from a registrar. On 11 April 2014 Microsoft deprecated the service in favor of the Office 365 software plus service program and offered Admins guidelines for migration.

Windows Live Mail

Windows Live Mail (formerly named Windows Live Mail Desktop, code-named Elroy) is a discontinued freeware email client from Microsoft. It is the successor to Windows Mail on Windows Vista, which was the successor to Outlook Express on Windows XP. It is designed to run on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows 8, and is also compatible with Windows 10.

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