What happens when you stop listening to your customers? The Hotmail team will tell you what happens – and what we’ve done to get back on track.

Galileo Vieira (Microsoft)
Sponsored
Location: Conference Room F Level:

As the largest provider of email service in the world, you’d figure that everyone would say that Hotmail is the best email on the planet. So why does the opposite happen? Why is it that everyone says that Hotmail is spammy, that it has miniscule storage space, and that it’s old and outdated? Fact is, several years ago those things might have been true. At the time, we weren’t listening to our customers nor were we providing the value they needed. But those days are long gone. We started listening to our customers again and we’ve been making changes that bring real value to our users. In this session we’ll share with you some of the lessons that what we’ve learned over the years in running a global web service, and also show you some of our recent innovations.

This session is sponsored by Microsoft

Galileo Vieira

Microsoft

Galileo Vieira is a Senior Product Manager at Microsoft.

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Galileo Vieira
11/21/2011 8:06am EST

Guillaume, thanks for starting off the conversation!

1) Yes, Hotmail is extremely relevant to our customers. You can see over the last years how much we’ve invested in improving the service and making it truly one of the best email services in the world. You can see many of the new features we’ve just released at www.anotherlookathotmail.com

2) We’ve heard this feedback from many users and we’re actively looking at how to improve this experience for our users. Take into consideration the fact that we’ve made many major improvements over the last 18 months to the product. That should be an indication of our desire to really make it the best email service out there.

3) I assume you’re referring to our new rhythm of releases to the product. That is our approach to the product now, more frequent feature releases instead a one big release every 18 months or so.

4) The most important task on hand is to make sure email users understand what the product is today, and not think it’s what it used to be in the past. To that end, we’re going out and telling our story. Being at Web 2.0 was one example.

5) I’m not sure I understand your question.

6) Well, first off, being the biggest email service in the world requires you to implement features that will help everyone out. But with regards to your specific request for IMAP, we’ve heard that request and we’re looking into it. We do utilize Exchange Active Sync today which is deemed to be superior to IMAP by many users. You can even see that Lifehacker recently recommended that you setup Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts on iOS using Exchange Active Sync instead of the native IMAP implementation.

Guillaume B
11/15/2011 10:30pm EST

Few points that I believe would be nice to highlight for this speech :

1- If Microsoft did not listen to their customers, is/was Hotmail relevant to Windows Live department?

2-Apart from the lack of features, a major complaint certainly was/is the presence of graphical adverts on Hotmail’s interface which look intrusive compare to Gmail’s text links. Has the Windows Live team been thinking about alternative revenues models? I’m especially thinking about how AOL constructed a new way to make revenues in Phoenix by displaying contextual articles from their network to drive traffic to their network of websites

3-The thriving to implement new features in Hotmail to step up to the competition, is this something the Windows Live team is doing for a period of x years to see how things evolve or is it something you plan to do on the long term ? In other words, is it some sort of last chance given by Microsoft ?

4-Apart from the huge task to implement new features, how can Microsoft make Hotmail “cool” again ? What are the communication method used to approach influent bloggers/journalists?

5-In terms of technologies, is the Windows Live team efforts in anyway blocked by Microsoft’s policy in general ? (eg:Microsoft’s position towards hardware acceleration vs new ways to send email through video/audio output…)

6- Why can’t the Windows Live team answer demands from many advanced users (think IMAP). Aren’t those “pro-users” a key to Microsoft’s strategy to recommend Hotmail to everyone?

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