Outlook.com is a web-based suite of email, contacts, tasks, and calendaring services from Microsoft. One of the world’s first webmail services,it was founded in 1996 as Hotmail (stylized as HoTMaiL) by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith in Mountain View, California, and headquartered in Sunnyvale. Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft in 1997 for an estimated $400 million and launched as MSN Hotmail, later rebranded to Windows Live Hotmail as part of the Windows Live suite of products. Microsoft released the final version of Hotmail in October 2011, available in 36 languages. It was replaced by Outlook.com in 2013.
Outlook.com follows Microsoft’s Metro design language, closely mimicking the interface of Microsoft Outlook. It also features unlimited storage, a calendar, contacts management, Ajax, and close integration with OneDrive, Office Online and Skype. In May 2015 it was announced that a preview of the new Outlook.com will move it to the Office 365 infrastructure. Microsoft concluded its preview stage in February 2016, when it began to roll out the new version to users’ accounts, beginning with North America. As of 2015, Outlook.com had 400 million active users.
Outlook.com supports email clients connecting through the following protocols, listed in chronological order:
WebDAV was used by Outlook Express but was discontinued on September 1, 2009.
DeltaSync was used by Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector, a free plug-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010. Using the Outlook connector, users can freely access email messages, contacts, and calendars in any Outlook.com account, though access to tasks and notes requires a premium subscription. Another alternative for users is to use the Windows Live Mail desktop client, which had built-in support for Hotmail.
Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) access has been made available for all Hotmail accounts as part of the “Wave 3” release, adding support to access Hotmail from any email client that supported this protocol.
Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) support was added as part of the Hotmail “Wave 4” release, allowing users to synchronise not just their email, but also their contacts and calendar on any device that supports EAS.
On September 12, 2013, Microsoft added support for Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and OAuth