Man bites dog: Microsoft Outlook.com embraces Gmail users

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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.

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