Microsoft has completed the move away from Hotmail to Outlook.com for its free web-based email service. As expected, many people are outraged that they are being forced to ditch Hotmail for Outlook.com. I’ve personally read many people pledging to leave Hotmail/Outlook.com because they preferred the old Hotmail to the new Outlook.com. (Note: I am not saying Outlook.com is bad. I think it is a bold move by Microsoft to modernize their dying email platform. However, that doesn’t mean people must like it.) Of course the reason Microsoft switched from Hotmail to Outlook.com was not to shed users but to gain them because, as most of us will probably agree, Gmail was blowing Hotmail out of the water. To help this endeavor in attracting users to Outlook.com, Microsoft has made an unexpected move: integration with Gtalk.
Microsoft has officially integrated Gtalk into Outlook.com and SkyDrive. Now you can chat with your Gtalk contacts while logged into Outlook.com or SkyDrive. The integration is fairly seamless and the first time you login and open Messaging, you will be prompted to add your Gtalk contacts you want to chat with. Also, when you get an email from a Gmail user, you will be asked if you want to start a chat with them.
This move is surprising because Microsoft has recently gone pro-Skype and is seemingly looking to integrate Skype into all its consumer products and services. Adding support for Gtalk allows users to flexibility to not use Skype, which is opposite of what Microsoft has been pushing people to do. However, I must admit: it is a smart move on Microsoft’s part and will aid in helping people move from Gmail to Outlook.com.