Outlook.com : A Not so Hot mail yet?

When Outlook was relaunched, there were major brouhaha calling it as the next Gmail killer.
Of course, Microsoft put in a lot of great UX efforts and 1 million people signed up within 6 hours of the launch (link) But, here is the truth (after 3 months of the launch)

Outlook.com - Massive fall
Outlook.com - Massive fall

That is, back to square one.

So what really happened with Outlook.com

Well, UI priorities took over the product.  Personally, I tried using Hotmail (err, Outlook) and gave up connecting my Google Apps (IMAP) account after 10 trials or so. While Outlook had a fresh UI, the experience of using it as a primary client is a far cry from one’s expectation.

Outlook.com : The Expectation mismatch?

There were basic product glitches that sound so web1.0ish. For instance
1. A user was able to grab ‘steve.ballmer@outlook.com” [Yes!]
2. Others were able to grab post.master@outlook.com, no-reply@outlook.com, donotreply@outlook.com
3. There were too many glitches with respect to  account creation/mapping [via].

+ Over obsession with Gmail?

The Outlook team’s obsession with Gmail shows up in the fact that 80% of their tweets are related respect to Gmail (and gives an impression that if not for Gmail, Outlook wouldn’t have existed). In fact, there hasn’t been a single tweet about product updates/feature launch, but it’s a lot about Gmail rivalry.

But the problem is this : Gmail users aren’t going to switch just because there is a good looking (+buggy) alternative out there (Outlook has great UI and not great UX yet). Users might switch if there is a better product – just the way a lot of us switched from hotmail/yahoo to Gmail when it launched. The truth is, there is not real foot in the door for Outlook – not yet.

For now, Microsoft’s Outlook team needs to revisit their outlook towards the product and ask themselves if they  are building a better email client or a Gmail competitor?

What are your thoughts? Are you still using Outlook (let’s not count signup as usage, please)?

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