Say farewell to a huge relic of the 1990s: Microsoft is shutting down Hotmail and "upgrading" Hotmail users to its just-launched Outlook.com service. But don't worry, you don't have to give up your firstname.lastname@example.org account; Hotmail users will be allowed to retain their email addresses and login info, but will see the different Outlook interface when they log in. "It’s not a light brand decision," says a senior Outlook.com director. "I don’t know of any other company that has hundreds of thousands of users and has changed the brand name."
So why do it? Microsoft is in the process of revamping almost all of its products, from Windows to Office (and even updated its logo for the first time in a quarter-century). One major goal: The company wants all products to utilize the cloud, so as it updated Outlook, it started working on an improved Webmail client. Hence Outlook.com, which currently has 60 million users after a six-month beta test, the Los Angeles Times reports. Since Hotmail is also a Web-based email service, one of the two had to go. The senior director says it was a tough decision, but in the end, "Outlook equals email for Microsoft."