Hotmail debuted on July 4th, 1996 (Independence Day) as an email client and was subsequently picked up by Microsoft a year later in 1997. Microsoft aimed to make Hotmail comparable to and competitive with AOL and other popular email clients.
Microsoft has given Hotmail several facelifts throughout the years but, according to Forbes Magazine, is in the process of replacing Hotmail with Outlook. This is part of the company's ongoing transition into cloud-based services. Outlook's direct competition is Google's Gmail, and both platforms are going to be using the same consumer advertising strategy based on ads tailored to email subject lines. Outlook also plans to mesh with Facebook in the same way Google has integrated with Google Plus.