Microsoft has re-branded lots of it's online services this year, one of them being Hotmail, which is now Outlook.com and it has direct integration with People, SkyDrive and Calendar. I personally quite like it - it's easy to navigate and looks cleaner. It's also quite handy that you can switch back to Hotmail if you like - what do you think?
I concur with billy asko insofar as the name Hotmail (or HoTMaiL as it was originally cased) will for me be forever associated with my first email address, the sound of 56.6kbps modems, and early exploration of the internet.
I think moving away from the Windows Live brand and merging the mail service formally known as Hotmail with Outlook is a good move. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I never felt entirely comfortable with the Windows Live brand, I think possibly because of the use of the Windows name when there was little association between the Windows operating system and the mail service. They did try this in Vista with the bundled Windows Mail app but that did not re-appear in Windows 7.
I don't mind using outlook.com. It's visually cleaner than the Windows Live branded service was in the sense that most of the awful coloured gradients have disappeared.
Now that I think about it, the first release of Windows Live Messenger marked the point where messenger went from a simple, fairly self-contained application to a bloated one with multiple processes and components (e.g. the Windows Live Communication Platform), it was this bloat that ended my use of Messenger and ultimately caused me to move away from Hotmail as a product
This post appears to have turned into a rant.... I'll get my coat.
Having moved one of my e-mail accounts over to the new Outlook.com interface, I have to say it's much cleaner, and easier to navigate for the day-to-day task of reading e-mails. It's much quicker to load as well.
It's nice to see Microsoft refining its brand so well - I own an HTC One X with Android, yet I look enviously at the super-slick interfaces of Windows Phone 8 users. Android is relatively easy to use, yet I still see WP8 as a level above Android. I certainly think it makes iOS look far past its best.
I've been using the new Outlook.com pretty much since it was released and obviously it's a massive improvement over the old Hotmail interface.
I'm a massive fan of the direction Microsoft are heading with their interfaces and 3 screen approach to what they're doing. I've got Windows 8, an Xbox and a Windows Phone (albeit 7.8 ), and I love the way everything just ties together and works (Xbox Music, Skydrive etc etc).
The new interface for Windows (digressing slightly) does take a bit of getting used to, but once you've got the hang of it, it works really well.