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Summary:

Well, embrace is too strong a word, but Microsoft says it’s making it easier for colleagues and friends with different mail accounts to chit chat.

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Here’s an interesting tidbit: Microsoft is making it easier for users of its Outlook.com email to chat and collaborate with Gmail users.

Or, as the Microsoft blog post announcing the move put it:

“… you can already chat with your Facebook and Skype friends. But we heard that some of you who switched over from Gmail still want to chat with friends stuck on Gmail. Today, we’re excited to announce that you can now also chat with your Google friends.” (Emphasis is mine.)

And lest you still think we’ve entered a new era of good feelings, remember that Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign is still active, as I was reminded by one of my colleagues.

So, if you’re reading an email from a Gmail user, you can reply with a chat icon from your Outlook.com inbox. Or, if you and your Google-oriented buddy are collaborating on a document in Microsoft Skydrive (as opposed to, say, Google Drive), you can send an instant message to your Google contact with the click of a button. Microsoft is also rolling out Google Chat integration.

Basically, Microsoft is asking its Outlook.com users to use its automated process to connect with all their contacts on other services.

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The timing is interesting here. Tomorrow, Google kicks off its big Google I/O conference in San Francisco. And, Microsoft is coming off a rather rocky migration of millions of its Hotmail users to Outlook.com. (To be fair, Google Drive has seen its own share of snafus lately.)

To be sure, Microsoft Office remains the desktop productivity giant but given this move, it’s clear it’s feeling pressure from Google Apps and Gmail.

 

This story was updated at 7:07 PDT to add the Scroogled reference.

  1. One reason to use Outlook.com more is being free to use on your own domain (http://domains.live.com/). Google removed the free version of Google Apps, which was better than many “email hosting” paid offerings one gets from a domain registrar.

    Any other *good* free webmail alternatives on custom domains, besides Outlook?

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  2. LOL at the headline, smh at the article

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