Last night, Microsoft announced that it was taking its new webmail service Outlook.com out of beta and starting to transition its huge Hotmail user base over to the new interface and platform. That transition is scheduled to last until the end of the summer, when the old Hotmail interface will be retired and the currently optional upgrade will become mandatory. During the first twelve hours since Outlook.com left preview, Microsoft's senior director of product management Dharmesh Mehta just told us, more than 1.5 million users have already opened new accounts.
"In the first twelve hours since Outlook.com left preview, we're excited to see that 1.5 million new active accounts had been created," Mehta told us. "This spike in adoption happened prior to sending emails to all Hotmail customers encouraging them to upgrade. It's great to see so many people like what they see and making the choice to upgrade to Outlook.com."
These new accounts, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed, are a mix of Hotmail upgrades, switchers from Gmail and other services, and people opening new accounts. The spike in new accounts, the company noted, came after the first wave of news about Outlook.com coming out of preview hit last night. This means it still remains to be seen how quickly the existing Hotmail user base will switch over to the new service, but Mehta is probably right that there is a strong interest in alternative email services.
You can read more about the transition from Hotmail to Outlook.com in our previous coverage here.