Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is the "new" MS Outlook webmail a threat to Gmail?

Microsoft yesterday launched the long-needed update to its webmail platform Hotmail. The webmail platform was also renamed to to give it a fresh start. In addition to the very well received user interface updates, Microsoft released a statement that they promise to refrain from scanning the users email for ad targeting.

It is obvious that Gmail is in Microsofts crosshairs but are the interface updates and the privacy promise enough for users to start leaving Gmail?

My initial answer is no. But at the same time I would say that Microsoft is in the running again and are being relevant through innovation.

There are a number of reasons for why I think Gmail is still pretty safe on the top of the webmail pyramid. The first and most important reason being, search. Search is really the core of Gmail and what makes it so flexible. Forget about folders, labels and all kinds of organization (if you want to), search will find the messages you are looking for anyway.

The second reason is the Gmail integration with Google Apps giving users access to Documents, Calendar, Reader, Maps, YouTube, Photos and all kinds of different apps.

While I don't see long-time and hardcore Gmail users defecting any time soon to Outlook, I think Microsoft should be fairly happy with what they have done with Outlook. I definitely think that they will be able to take a greater share of new signups to their service now and retain existing users.

Most importantly, they have fired a shot directly at the Google universe gateway drug, Gmail. They didn't aim for something small, they went for the big target immediately. Now we just have to wait and see if they add apps to this platform and how it plays out.   

No comments:

Post a Comment