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What is the difference between Outlook and Hotmail?

Difference between Outlook and Hotmail

I have been using Outlook and Hotmail for more than 10 years when they were different. Now I see Outlook when I go to my Hotmail account. What has happened?
Ahmed Abbas

Hotmail and Outlook were, and still are, different things. Outlook is Microsoft’s email program for professionals while Hotmail was their online email service. On 31st July 2012, Hotmail was rebranded as Outlook.com not Outlook. I understand that the similarity in names can cause a lot of confusion… let me explain.

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Outlook – The email program

Outlook is an email program developed by Microsoft. It is available both as a part of their Office Suite and as standalone software costing $109.99. There was also a free version called Outlook Express which was available till Windows XP after which it was replaced by Windows Mail Vista and then later by Windows Live Mail.

My guess is that you would have either used Outlook or Outlook Express all those years ago. Also, on both these programs, one could set up a Hotmail account so that emails could be downloaded to the local computer to be available even without an Internet connection.

Why does my Hotmail show Outlook now?

Hotmail was a webmail email service launched on 4th July 1996. It was later bought over by Microsoft who, over the years, changed its name many times. The latest change involves rebranding the Hotmail service as Outlook.com. However, it is much more than a simple change of name. Hotmail, or Outlook.com, now runs the Metro design language developed by Microsoft which is also used on their operating systems – Windows 8 and Windows 10.

You don’t need the Windows operating system to use Outlook.com service. A web browser on any operating system will suffice. Additionally, there is also an Outlook app lets you access the account from your phone or tablet, an iPhone or iPad, for instance.

What are the differences between Outlook and Hotmail?

Before I list the differences, please be aware that this is like comparing apples to oranges – Hotmail was an online service while Outlook is a program.

Outlook Hotmail (now called Outlook.com)
Is an email program available for both Windows and Mac operating systems. Is an online email service which can be assessed from virtually any device with a web browser or the Outlook mobile app.
Costs $109.99 Offers both free and paid accounts
You need to have an email address to use the program Provides you with an email address

Conclusion: Outlook is an email program while Outlook.com (earlier known as Hotmail) is an email service.

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Your comments
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  • Margaret Andersen on October 27th, 2016 2:58 am

    I want my OLD hotmail account back. I cannot find it since I bought a new laptop today and bought that durn package from Microsoft. Disgusting.

Sometimes i just need a break

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