Hotmail was founded in 1996 by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, and it was one of the world's first free email services. Hotmail was sold to Microsoft in 1997 for an estimated $400 million.
In February 2013, Microsoft announced that Hotmail was being replaced by its Outlook service. Users who had Hotmail email accounts were able to keep their email addresses, and all of their contacts were ported over automatically. The biggest change was that all users were forced to use the Outlook interface, which received an update around the time Windows 8 was released. The main goal of the update was to make the Outlook website look more aesthetic in Windows 8.