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Hotmail holdouts grumble about 'pathetic' new interface

MS scrambles to fix distorted views

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Microsoft isn’t having much luck with the redesign of Hotmail, which is currently playing havoc with thousands of user’s emails.

The software giant has, er, “thanked” nearly 2,000 frustrated Hotmail peeps who have complained about the new interface.

Some are unable to view their inbox, while others have lost their sent items since Microsoft revamped the free email service.

As we reported last week, MS took the unpopular step of removing a toggle between the old and the new interface even though many users wanted to view the old design.

Since then Hotmail fanciers have grumbled about the service, prompting Microsoft to post a message on the Windows Live blog:

“We're reading all of your comments, and we’re working on fixing many of the issues that we're hearing matter most to you,” wrote Windows Live Hotmail program manger Ellie Powers yesterday.

Microsoft has recommended that users install Windows Live Mail on their computers in order to view the email as a workaround while the firm fixes the cockup. However, that program only works on Windows XP or Vista.

Those rare creatures out there who use Linux and have a Hotmail account can only currently access the full working version of their email via the mobile version, which lacks lots of the features found on the web-based Hotmail.

“We are working on fixing the problems you are reporting just as quickly as we can,” said Powers. “We know that the options mentioned here are not permanent solutions, but we hope they might be helpful in the meantime. Thanks for your patience.”

Following our story last week, Microsoft gave us a statement about how it has worked hard to get its technology to work in “certain markets” (though it didn’t provide specifics).

Explaining the rationale behind ditching the so-called “classic” interface, Redmond said:

“With our new combined platform, we offer great performance in all markets by putting the best features from both versions in one well-designed platform. Because of these performance improvements it is no longer necessary to offer the classic version. Hotmail customers were notified of these changes beginning in early September.”

But comments on the Windows Live blog suggest otherwise, with many bitterly complaining about the redesign.

A typical comment reads: “I am so upset with your new format that I am considering changing my e-mail address. I much, much prefer the old format; it worked just fine. Your new format is pathetic...very, very difficult to do anything with it. How about going back to the previous one???????? Thank you.”

We asked Microsoft if it could tell us more about the major Hotmail blunder, but it wasn’t immediately available for comment. ®

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