If you’re like me, your first email address was a Hotmail account, but these days, Hotmail users are rare.
If you head to Hotmail.com, you’ll be redirected to Outlook.com, as Microsoft has transitioned all Hotmail users to its more popular, more robust Outlook platform. Accordingly, the only real “difference” between Gmail vs Hotmail is that Gmail is still around.
However, it’s still interesting to consider Hotmail as it has existed in the past, and explore how Gmail became the dominant competitor.
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A Brief History of Hotmail
Hotmail was one of the earliest email services, launching in 1996, named to resemble the letters HTML (HoTMaiL). In 1997, it was sold for more than $400 million, joining the MSN suite of services, and from there, it quickly became popular.
But in 2004, Google announced a competing mail service—Gmail—available for free to individual users even today. With more storage space, flexibility, and overall speed, Gmail put a ton of pressure on Hotmail (as well as Yahoo Mail, another big competitor from back in the day).
Microsoft worked quickly to launch a new version of the email system, Windows Live Hotmail, in 2005. It was subject to a number of updates in subsequent years, but would not last forever.
In 2012, Outlook.com was introduced by Microsoft as a new standard for email. When introduced, existing Hotmail users under the Microsoft umbrella were given the option to freely upgrade to Outlook. Users could keep the “@hotmail.com” extension of their email accounts, or transition to a new @outlook.com email address. Either way, Hotmail users could keep their old accounts.
Today, Outlook remains Gmail’s top competitor in the email world, with more than 400 million active users.
Can You Sign Up for a Hotmail Account?
Unfortunately, Hotmail is no longer available to new users. The closest you can get is to sign up for an Outlook email address. The only people with an existing Hotmail email address are ones who created their account many years ago, and have decided to keep their original @hotmail.com email address.
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Modern Hotmail users are now relying on Outlook for all their email needs. This isn’t Hotmail, exactly, but it may be what you’ve considered as Hotmail since you’ve made the transition. Additionally, Outlook is where Hotmail.com redirects you.
If you’re interested in learning the differences between Outlook and Gmail, we’ve written a full guide on the subject here. In the article, we discuss some of the core differences between Outlook and Gmail, including their features, design, and overall practicality for different businesses.
We also determine which platform is “better” in each of several different categories, including cost, available storage, ads, security, organization, search, contacts, add-ons, customizability, and more.
The Bottom Line: Gmail vs. Hotmail
We’ve written a few email platform comparison posts, and in most of them, Gmail ends up coming out on top. In this case, between Gmail vs Hotmail, it’s a no-brainer because Hotmail is dead, and Gmail played a role in killing it.
Of course, “dead” is a relative term. You or someone you know may still have “@hotmail.com” at the end of your email address, and you may still have old emails in your inbox that you received during the heyday of Hotmail. If this is the case, you’ll understandably be reluctant to make the transition—just remember you can migrate your emails to Gmail at any time, so you won’t stand to lose anything.
Be sure to check out our other posts comparing Gmail with popular email providers!
If you’re on Gmail and you’re interested in improving your email efficiency (or just better understanding your habits as a professional), it’s important to have a tool that can track your inbound and outbound emails, your average response times, and other metrics related to your performance.
One of the best tools on the market for Gmail is EmailAnalytics. Integrate your account in a matter of minutes, and discover new ways you can boost your productivity. If you’re interested, you can sign up for a free trial today!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.