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Email services struggle over customers

Photo by: Will Gentry


In today’s extremely competitive world, where there are twenty choices for one product, it is no wonder corporations such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook are at each other’s throats as they battle for more customers and popularity.

In an article, “Microsoft’s Outlook Takes Aim at Google’s Gmail” by the Associated Press, Michael Liedtke states that, “to welcome new users, Microsoft is financing what it believes to be the biggest marketing blitz in the history of email.”

The competition between giant email services such as Outlook and Gmail is great.

According to Liedtke, Outlook’s goal is to mesh Microsoft’s Hotmail and its 293 million users under one Microsoft Outlook umbrella, thus making Outlook the biggest and most popular email service in the world.

By the summer of 2013, if all goes according to plan, Outlook might beat Gmail, which is currently  the most popular email service with a total of 306 million users. Outlook will attempt to get more users by throwing millions of dollars into campaigns.

To achieve this goal, Outlook aims to create ads for TV, radio stations, websites, billboards and buses, all in an attempt to get Gmail customers and other email users to make the change to Outlook.

Microsoft Outlook’s campaign, according to Liedtke, “expects to spend anywhere from $30 million to $90 million dollars, which will run for at least three months.”

Outlook is going all out with its campaign to attract not only new email users but to steal some users from its rival, Gmail.

According to Liedtke’s article, Outlook has detected that about 20 million Gmail users already made the transition from Gmail to Outlook, enticed by Outlook’s fancy features.

“The new features being introduced in Outlook include: the ability to send massive files, including hundreds of photos at a time, address books that automatically update new contact information that connections post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn,” Liedtke said in his article.

To some people, the ability to automatically update new contact information from social media like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn may sound incredible and high tech, but it is not.

According to Liedtke, “none of these features are revolutionary. Google already has been giving its users the option to switch to a new version of Gmail that also allows for larger files to be sent in a single email.”

In his article “Microsoft: Outlook Making Progress vs. Gmail,” Michael Endler states that, “ hopes to entice more users with a modern interface that infuses email with social media.”

So the question remains: will Microsoft Outlook manage to entice more customers with $30-90 million worth of advertising?

“By allowing users to hook into Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the service is designed to automatically detect changes to a contact’s information and make necessary revisions to the address book,” Endler said.

In this generation where most people have Facebook or Twitter accounts, the ability to have faster and instant updates on social media accounts might just be the turning point that Microsoft Outlook needs to boost its popularity.

“It also allows users to keep tabs on friends’ social media activity, such as status updates or new photos, from within the interface,” Endler said.

Microsoft Outlook will do everything in its power to attempt to make email customers happier, with its modified and less time-consuming new features like Sweep.

“Sweep allows users to clear thousands of messages with a few clicks, and Sky Drive integration that allows users to share media content, including large video files,” Endler said.

One of the major advantages that Gmail has over Microsoft Outlook is its simplicity.

“Gmail is still much faster,” Endler said. “And as an added hassle, if Outlook ever returns incorrect or incomplete search results, you have to dig into the settings to tweak or rebuild your search index, hoping that you can fix the problem.”

A year ago, Oklahoma Christian University decided to switch from Outlook to Gmail to benefit the school in a more pleasing manner.

“The move was for many reasons,” Vice President of Information Services John Hermes said. “The service Google offers is free to education, removing the need for us to invest large amounts of money on maintaining a server infrastructure that was required to host our own mail system.”

Hermes also said that many people on campus still prefer to use the Microsoft Outlook to access their Oklahoma Christian Google Mail account but Google had more to offer the campus for free.

“Google also provided many services including the Google Drive and other Apps that made this attractive to OC,” Hermes said. “Google also offers a managed spam filtering service that was a very big benefit to OC as we struggled to keep up with spam detection.”

Most Oklahoma Christian students prefer Gmail to Outlook. One student, freshmen Mitch Jones, claims he did not even know about Outlook.

“I honestly did not know Outlook existed until just now,” Jones said.

Other students stated they liked Gmail better because Gmail is faster, offers more features, is easier to use and Outlook was too old fashioned and not web based.

“It is a lot easier to have consistent communications between students and teachers,” sophomore Hunter Culpepper said.

When asked what he thought about Outlook spending millions of dollars worth of advertisements, freshman Cedrick Grayson said this campaign did not change his opinion of Outlook.

“It does not matter how Outlook uses their money, Gmail is definitely more beneficial to students at OC,” Grayson said.

One of the most enticing new features that Outlook is offering its email clients is the ability to instantly connect with their social medias via email. But it won’t be long before Gmail and other email corporations offer better options for its email users as well.

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