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Hotmail upgrade finally reaches 350m users

Plumbs depths of Web2.0rhea

Microsoft has taken its sweet time to roll out its new version of Hotmail to its 350 million users, but everyone has now been upgraded.

The software vendor said that most Hotmail fans got the latest version in the past week.

In late May Microsoft plastered tube stations, buses and billboards with its bewildering “New Busy” Hotmail campaign.

By mid-June it “officially” re-launched Hotmail. However, a few weeks later the company confessed that the rollout of the latest version of Hotmail was taking longer than customers might have expected.

It admitted at that point that only one per cent of Hotmail users were playing with the latest version.

Microsoft’s Mike Schackwitz confirmed the upgrade had been completed in a blog post yesterday.

“We hope you like the new Hotmail. We want to hear from you, whether you like it or whether you’re having any issues or problems (or just found things you don’t like),” he said.

“We’ve already gotten lots of feedback, and we’ve already made some changes based on the feedback we’ve received – for instance, we no longer sign you into Messenger by default. We’ll continue to go through feedback, and we’ll continue to make improvements and updates. So, keep the comments coming and thanks for using Hotmail.”

As for what’s been added to the latest version, users can expect faster response times from their free MS webmail.

Redmond has also added one-click filters, active views that show videos and photos directly in a message, and a new feature called Sweep to get rid of unwanted emails.

Inevitably, some users have already begun complaining on Hotmail forums and Twitter that the upgrade has failed for them or that the new look distracts far too much from the business of simply displaying email.

The landing page for Hotmail users now prominently displays "Messenger social", which urges customers to plug into the Web2.0 wasteland by connecting to MySpace and Facebook.

Some aren't pleased.

"What's all this shit when I login to Hotmail...? How about you just go straight to my inbox?," noted gazsimmons on Twitter.

Meanwhile, others are struggling to access their Hotmail accounts because their aged browsers aren't compatible with the new version. The moans and groans are here. ®

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