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Microsoft's 'New Busy' Hotmail has lie-in

Only 1% of users have latest version two weeks after launch

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Microsoft has confessed that the rollout of the latest version of Hotmail is taking longer than customers might have expected, especially given the fanfare that accompanied the release.

The software giant confirmed yesterday that only one per cent of its 360 million-strong user base has what it describes as “Wave 4” of the free online email service.

Everyone else is still lumbered with the old design.

Microsoft launched the latest release of Hotmail in mid-June when it started slowly rolling out the service to its users.

The company also accompanied the launch with a splashy, albeit perplexing, marketing campaign that carried the tagline “The New Busy”, which in the process damaged the sensitive ears of Vulture Central’s Soho neighbours.

But progress has been slow, and many people have been asking Microsoft when they can expect to see the new version of Hotmail hit their accounts.

In effect, the one per cent of users who already have the new Hotmail have been lab rats for Microsoft.

“When we roll out new software, we typically find a few things that we want to tweak before going out more broadly. Most of these things are actually invisible to our customers - they usually have to do with our ability to monitor the site or make the rollout itself go more smoothly,” explained the firm’s Mike Schackwitz.

“This time was no exception, and we have made a few minor changes to the way Hotmail works ‘under the hood’ in order to make the rollout go even more smoothly for the remaining 99 per cent of our customers.”

Microsoft said it was adding the new version of Hotmail to “a few additional clusters” this week and confirmed that yet more “tweaks” would also be made before the service is rolled out to all its users.

“After that, the release will really pick up speed, and we’ll start to put the new software on more and more clusters. Of course, we have hundreds of clusters and we want to make sure everything goes smoothly, so it will still take a few weeks to finish,” said Schackwitz. ®

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