Microsoft’s venerable Web-mail service, Hotmail, has actually gotten pretty good in recent times. But it’s not a brand that exudes sophistication. So when the company decided to create an ambitious rival to Gmail, it dumped the Hotmail moniker. Outlook.com — which is officially in beta — isn’t an exact counterpart to the PC software of the same name, and it’s not as feature-rich as Gmail. But it does have an impressively streamlined interface and clever tools for taming inbox clutter. And Microsoft says that it will add built-in video calls, courtesy of Skype.
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