The New Outlook.com and the Microsoft Account PaymentHub

Outlook.com Logo

While check­ing my RSS feeds for the night, I ran across this arti­cle describ­ing the new Outlook.com.  As an avid user of “Live for Domains”, I was inter­est­ed to see where Microsoft was going after announc­ing the renam­ing of the “Win­dows Live” moniker back in May.

Outlook.com

It turns out, the UI is refresh­ing and seems to be a new front-end for what was Hot­mail and Live Mail.  It is a refresh­ing, min­i­mal­is­tic UI with a lot of white space.   Users of the pre­view releas­es of Win­dows 8 will notice many UI and usabil­i­ty sim­i­lar­i­ties.  I was expect­ing to get a ‘pre­view like’ expe­ri­ence but that has not been the case.  I have sev­er­al domains I use and have linked togeth­er.  The authen­ti­ca­tion worked like a charm and I was able to jump around my three dif­fer­ent accounts in Outlook.com with­out it revert­ing to the old Hot­mail inter­face (send-as work­ing as well).

 

Outlook.com - Service Ribbon

Then I went to check out the Contacts/People inter­face and the Cal­en­dar.  The Cal­en­dar nev­er loaded in Chrome so I had to revert to IE.  The Contacts/People inter­face had the oppo­site prob­lem; it loads in Chrome just fine but not IE 10.  The Contacts/People inter­face match­es the new UI but the Cal­en­dar has yet to be upgrad­ed.  I

‘m sure MS will sort out these issues fair­ly quick­ly as they have already sur­passed 1 mil­lion usersin the new UI.Try it now.  All it takes is a vis­it to Outlook.com.

Microsoft Account and PaymentHub

This is just spec­u­la­tion but I can see this real­ly fit­ting into sub­scrip­tion ser­vices for Microsoft Office, Xbox games, addi­tion­al e-mail and Sky­Drive stor­age, advanced fea­tures in future releas­es of WebApps and more.Some peo­ple have been report­ing run­ning in the new “Microsoft Account” when log­ging in but this hasn’t been my expe­ri­ence.  How­ev­er, after the switch, I went into the Outlook.com options/settings and saw a new billing tab.  I also noticed I was now at https://account.live.com/.  The link redi­rect­ed to https://commerce.microsoft.com/PaymentHub/.  It appears this will han­dle sub­scrip­tions down the road and also func­tion on a point sys­tem sim­i­lar to Xbox Live and Bing Rewards.  It also iden­ti­fies my account as a ‘US - Per­son­al Account’ lead­ing me to believe they may be using the same billing sys­tem used with the pre­view release of Office365.

Screenshots

What’s Next

With the release of Win­dows 8, Serv­er 2012, Exchange 2013, Sur­face Tablets, Office365 Next, Share­point 2013, Office 2013, advance­ments w/ Azure IaaS and more, it is an excit­ing time for Microsoft.