Hotmail users revolt against new interface

Complaints mount about new design, slow speed and other problems

Many of the users called for Microsoft to bring back the "classic" interface option, or asked where it had gone. "You have distroyed [sic] a perfectly good Hotmail!!!!" ranted another anonymous user. "Everything is so messed up that it is almost impossible to use. Give us back the Hotmail as it was."

Users also disputed Microsoft's claim that the new Hotmail was faster. Numerous comments added to the FAQ argued otherwise. "Much slower than the old," said "JackC" late Wednesday.

"This version is slower when opening mails," added another user earlier in the day.

Microsoft Friday defended the new interface, its performance claims, and the decision to ditch the "classic" and "full" mode options.

"When we originally rolled out the full version of Hotmail, we learned that much of the new technology we incorporated didn't perform well in narrowband markets, resulting in the re-release of the classic view," a company spokeswoman said in an e-mail. "However, with our new combined platform, we offer great performance in all markets by putting the best features from both versions in one well-designed platform. Because of these performance improvements, it is no longer necessary to offer the classic version."

But by the tone of users' reactions, Microsoft has made a big mistake. "Please put it back the way it was," begged an unidentified user commenting on the FAQ. "I use Hotmail for work and home, and it is now taking me twice as long and the end result is unsatisfactory. How long is it going to take to get this fixed and put it back the way it was?"

The ongoing rollout of the new interface will continue over the next few months, the Microsoft spokeswoman said.

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Gregg Keizer

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