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.
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).
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
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.
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.