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Outlook switch leaves Hotmail users open to cyber-squatting

  • Outlook
  • Steve Ballmer registered on Outlook.com

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 31 Jul 2012 at 17:11

Microsoft has unveiled plans to rebrand Hotmail to Outlook, but has failed to reserve existing users' email aliases.

The surprise switch is the latest attempt by Microsoft to rebrand Hotmail, which was previously available under the Windows Live moniker.

Hotmail - or Windows Live - users can try the new version of Outlook.com, and claim an Outlook alias. However, Microsoft has failed to reserve existing users' logins on the new system, leaving Hotmail users at risk of losing their sign in on the new domain.

For example, if you had name@hotmail.com, you won't be guaranteed the name@outlook.com address, if someone else chooses it first. That could be problematic as Microsoft is reportedly ditching Hotmail and Windows Live entirely, in favour of the new Outlook.com domain, according to a report in ZDNet.

PC Pro staff even managed to register an Outlook.com alias in the name of Steve Ballmer.

Steve Ballmer registered on Outlook.com

Outlook.com features the Metro-style design from Windows 8, with blocks for folders that change colour when a mouse cursor hovers over them - clearly designed to make it easier to select folders using a tablet or other touchscreen device.

Chris Jones, corporate vice president of Windows Live Experience Program Management, said in a blog post that the Outlook.com email was created because "not much has fundamentally changed in webmail over the last eight years".

He said Outlook can pull in status updates, photos and contact lists from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and will offer video calls via Skype, acknowledging that more and more messaging is moving away from inboxes to social networks.

While the new system is still a preview, Jones said "Outlook.com is ready now to become your primary email service".

You can try out the Outlook.com email here - there's a button under settings that lets you switch back to Hotmail if you don't like the new look.

Update: Microsoft has explained more details about Outlook.com, revealing in an email to PC Pro that all Hotmail users will be forced to upgrade to the new system, but will be able to bring their Hotmail email address with them. "Anyone that upgrades from Hotmail to Outlook and wants to retain their email address can keep their email address, email, calendar, contacts, etc. - just the software experience will change (for the better)," Microsoft said.

It wasn't clear when the move would happen, merely saying that it would happen "after the preview period".

Microsoft denied claims it was ditching Hotmail because Gmail had surpassed it in number of users. "We’re not abandoning Hotmail, we’re starting a new service and we think this new service is better."

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User comments

thanks for the heads up

glad i read this. sorted my alias for outlook.com nice and ealry out so as not to lose out.

By mr_chips on 31 Jul 2012

Thanks!

Thanks for the top-off. I've now registed several!

Interestingly, the Outlook.co.uk domain appears to belong to a company unrelated to Microsoft. They've slipped up there!

By valeofyork on 31 Jul 2012

Cyber Squatting?

How would this be cyber squatting? mickey.mouse@ hotmail is obviously different from mickey.mouse@outlook.com; so how is this squatting?

By Phoomeister on 1 Aug 2012

Usual Spin eh?

It could have been written a chance to get a better email address, there could have been an opinion on whether it is actually any good or not, there could have been a distinction between metro-style SkyDrive (the reference to solid colour folders) versus outlook.com email, there could have been a comparison to current Hotmail, GMail etc.

Instead all we have is selection of a minor con, expanding it to fulfil a headline and then a cursory summary of the blog post.

By TheBigM72 on 1 Aug 2012

What about .co.uk?

Thanks for the warning. I have now grabbed the .Outlook version of the one .Hotmail.Com that the family uses but what about Hotmail.co.uk? I don't want to be anti social and pinch someone's address but are my Hotmail.co.uk addresses safe?

Having logged onto Outlook.com I'm underwhelmed. It's an email system... yawn.

John

By JohnHo1 on 1 Aug 2012

@TBM - Huh?

Once more please, in English.

Thanks,
John

By JohnHo1 on 1 Aug 2012

Please help!!!

ive just swithed over to outlook.com domain from my old hotmail.co.uk and now none of my other devices using that email work!!! both my mac and iphone wont recive emails. Does anybody know how to reverse the domain change!

Please help i dont have a clue how to do it?

By walsh170585 on 1 Aug 2012

@walsh - If you go under settings, the little widget symbol in the top right, there's an option to "switch back to Hotmail."

By Nicole_Kobie on 1 Aug 2012

@walsh170585

"i dont have a clue..."

That's presumably why you've got a mac and an iphone :-)

This is PCPro not PCKindergarten. Suggest you find a site suitable for noobs.

By rjp2000 on 1 Aug 2012

dont switch fully YET

In outlook.com web pages, go to more account settings>create alias. Then register the outlook.com (or, .co.uk) address that you wish to use, (presumably the equivalent to your current hotmail address) and then sit and wait for the preview to end and things to be fully operational.
This is known.

By nickallison on 1 Aug 2012

@rjp2000

Walsh may well be on the wrong site, asking for help, but being sarcastic like that isn't going to draw him away from his fruity fixation. And its just plain rude.
Walsh. I suggest WPCentral where they seem to have a handle on what to do with the new Outlook. Yes is for WP7, not iOS, but your particular problem is with the web client, not your mobile os.

By nickallison on 1 Aug 2012

thanks

nickallison thats helpful. thanks for the adivce.

@rjp200- theres no need to be rude. im just trying to get help on something im not very good at. you.

By walsh170585 on 1 Aug 2012

@walsh170585

Change the username / account name on Mac and iPhone to the Outlook address, that is the new "master" username, the old e-mail address will work, but the new address is, presumably, the login - I haven't tried yet, but that was the gist I got when reading the set-up page this morning.

By big_D on 1 Aug 2012

What if the outlook.com address is already taken

If it is now possible to take any outlook.com address, won't it be too late to transfer the hotmail equivalent in the future?

By halsteadk on 1 Aug 2012

My guess

I'm guessing they mean that you will be able to move your old hotmail address over to the new system so you will log into outlook.com with a joe.bloggs@hotmail.co.uk address... It doesn't stop someone else having a joe.bloggs@outlook.com address though

By NR5674 on 1 Aug 2012

Thank you

Thanks for the heads up by the way. I'm pretty happy with my new address..

By NR5674 on 1 Aug 2012

@rjp2000... Kindergarten eh?

If anyone should be at kindergarten - it's you. Someone makes a polite request for a bit of help - and you pile in like a three year old. Very nice. Not.

By halian on 1 Aug 2012

@rjp2000... Kindergarten eh?

If anyone should be at kindergarten - it's you. Someone makes a polite request for a bit of help - and you pile in like a three year old. Very nice. Not.

By halian on 1 Aug 2012

Two things at once

It appears that two things have happened at once and that has caused confusion. Well it certainly confused me.
1. a new interface for MS email, Outlook.com.
2. a new set of possible email addresses ending @Outlook.com.

The two coming together, with the possibility that @Hotmail.com email addresses might be withdrawn (though this now seems not to be the case?) is confusing. MS have shot themselves in the foot slightly because people are focussed on keeping their email addresses more than the new interface, and understandably so.
If the old @Hotmail.com addresses live on, indefinitely, then item (2) is a non issue. So someone has the same email address as me but ending @Outlook.com? So what. There's already the same but ending @gmail.com and @Yahoo.com so what the heck?

As for not automatically moving addresses over, well if my supposition above is correct, it is not necessary and, as mentioned elsewhere there must be millions of unused Hotmail.com email addresses.

John

By JohnHo1 on 1 Aug 2012

I have SteveWozniak

I got it out of curiosity but ultimately Id love to meet the man and spend a day getting his perspective on things.

Gladly turn it over to him if he wanted.

By InteriorLiving on 1 Aug 2012

I have SteveWozniak

I got it out of curiosity but ultimately Id love to meet the man and spend a day getting his perspective on things.

Gladly turn it over to him if he wanted.

By InteriorLiving on 1 Aug 2012

My names already taken .. if they swtich off hotmail as they are sort of suggesting then I'll just stick with Gmail...

Bit silly offering people a new address but not saving the previous users... I suppose it will clea out some of the rubbish ones that seem to add me daily for webchats.. but sucks for the genuine users.

By akoli on 2 Aug 2012

.com and .co.uk

I've jumped in and updated my account, mainly because I use the .com version of Hotmail, but there is a person with an identical email address, using co.uk! If everything is going to be switched to Outlook.com and I've nabbed it, what is HE going to use?! We already have crossovers - I've had emails from his girlfriend and when he bought a new car, so what's going to happen now?! As someone has already pointed out, outlook.co.uk is owned by the Outlook Creative Group, so things could get interesting!

By AJPCSolutions on 2 Aug 2012

It is not only Apple users who are going to have trouble. This is what I learned when about to switch to the new account name:
" You might not want to change this email address if you've used it to set up a Windows Phone. On your phone, features that use this address will stop working, including Marketplace, Xbox LIVE, SkyDrive, email and others. To use these features again on your phone, you'd need to restore it to factory settings, which erases all personal content."
So you have a Windows phone and the Microsoft web browser plans to nuke it.
The only other option is an alias. And my (not common) name had already gone.
Can you imagine the meeting that planned this fiasco?

By PeterMcIntyre1 on 2 Aug 2012

Not feasible to migrate @hotmail etc users to @outlook.com. All old email accounts will not be closed

Not feasible to migrate most current Microsoft email users to @outlook.com because @msn.com, @hotmail.com, @hotmail.co.uk, @live.com @live.co.uk cannot fit into @outlook.com so first come first served basis.

Current Microsoft Accounts will not be closed or Microsoft would end up closing 75% of its email accounts. One of the reasons behind this upgrade is because Gmail has overtaken Microsoft as number one email provider.

By DarrenBaker1311 on 2 Aug 2012

It now attaches my Facebook photo with emails?!!!

I've set up my alias outlook.com email address, and switched back to hotmail - BUT - I have been informed that my emails now have my Facebook profile picture attached! I gave NO permission for this - this is just unacceptable. If I use email for personal "professional" reasons then I don't want my photo sent with it. I can't find an option to turn it off either, in either hotmail or outlook.com.
This is not a good move (and does it not infringe Data Protection?

By Majicthighs on 2 Aug 2012

Hector

I've changed over to Outlook and managed to get my email address, thanks to PCPro. My Hotmail plus account is due for renewal at the end of this month at £14.99. Should I now cancel that? Is there an equivalent in Outlook or is it free?

By Hector on 2 Aug 2012

Hector

I've changed over to Outlook and managed to get my email address, thanks to PCPro. My Hotmail plus account is due for renewal at the end of this month at £14.99. Should I now cancel that? Is there an equivalent in Outlook or is it free?

By Hector on 2 Aug 2012

FUD

I thought the idea was you spread Fear, Uncertainty an Doubt about you competition and not your own product? Ironic, since FUD is M$' middle name

By Deadtroopers on 6 Aug 2012

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