Hotmail, the long-running free web-based email service, is being phased out.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which acquired Hotmail in 1997, has announced that it will migrate more than 300 million Hotmail accounts to its newly launched Outlook.com email service. The move is expected to be complete by the end of this summer, CNN notes.
Outlook currently has about 60 million members. However, about a third of those maintain both an email account with Outlook and with Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) popular Gmail service.
Once the migration of Hotmail users is completed, Outlook will have more than 300 million users, putting it behind Gmail, which has about 425 million users, but ahead of Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) Mail, which has 281 million users.
Hotmail users will have the option of making the switch immediately, or waiting a few months.
Microsoft is planning a big media ad campaign to persuade users to switch from competing services, including TV ads. The software giant has already launched a media blitz against Google, called “Don’t get Scroogled,” which highlights user privacy concerns with Gmail.
Shares of Microsoft rose fractionally in Wednesday morning trading.