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This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
One of the hotter topics I'm hearing about lately is the migration of MSN Hotmail's interface to the new "Windows Live Hotmail". Same service, same email, but a different user interface. From what I can tell Hotmail is migrating users over to the new interface whether they want it or not. For a while, particularly during Windows Live Hotmail beta, there was an option to revert back to the old interface, but that's apparently disappeared for most users.
It's fairly clear that the old "MSN Hotmail" user interface will someday soon be a thing of the past. "Windows Live Hotmail" is the future.
And of course, that upsets some people who find the old user interface more intuitive, easier to use, or who just don't want to learn a slightly new way of doing things. It doesn't help that some features of the old interface are either not present in the new, or are very well hidden.
My reaction, of course, is that if you don't like the new user interface, use this as an opportunity to take your business elsewhere. In fact, particularly since it's a free service, that's about the only leverage you have. Go get a GMail or Yahoo email account, or better yet, use this as an opportunity to get a real email account and start using a PC-based email program to manage your email. The list of choices is long, and after the initial transition in the long run you'll likely be much happier.
The question, though, is this: is forcing you to upgrade a bad thing?
In my opinion, usually not. Particularly for web-based services, improvements should be getting made all the time, and you should absolutely expect things to change. And doubly so for free services. Sometimes it'll happen slowly and sometimes more dramatically. The fact that Hotmail might have both old and new user interfaces available for a while is nice and all, but it's a costly support burden for a service that, quite frankly, you're not paying for. I'd certainly expect the old interface to disappear.
Now, you don't always have to change, at least not for some things - I know of folks who are happily running desktop email programs nearly a decade old. To a large degree you can control what you put on your desktop. But when it comes to web-based email services - or almost any web based service - expect it to change. In fact, I'd start to worry if it never changed, wondering if the service wasn't doing very well.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11822 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse over 1,200 technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.
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