Windows Live Mail previews in the Netherlands

Hotmail's successor, Microsoft Windows Live Mail, has been launched as a preview version in the Netherlands.

But customers in the UK and the rest of the world will have to wait until they can get their hands on anything more than a beta version of the offering.

Last week, the software giant released the free web-based mail service, which boasts 2GB of storage, to the Dutch population.

In addition to the continuing beta testing, the preview launch means that anyone in the Netherlands can now sign up for a Windows Live Mail account, rather than just those who currently use Hotmail.

According to Microsoft's own statistics, there are currently some 230 million active Hotmail users around the world who use the service to send 100 million emails daily.

Microsoft claims the Dutch release will act as a preview so that it can incorporate feedback prior to unveiling Windows Live Mail in other countries.

"The Netherlands is a prime location for the Windows Live Mail launch given the local popularity of Hotmail (one in three people has a Hotmail account) and the high percentage of Hotmail users with broadband access," said a Microsoft spokesperson.

"We wanted to take advantage of these high percentages to gather customer feedback on how we can better transition accounts and roll out in other markets."

A number of users have posted comments on the Windows Live Mail blog asking when they can obtain IDs for the new service in their country.

But beyond confirming that additional launches are planned in the coming months, Microsoft remained tight lipped about exactly when other users can expect to see a final version of the offering.

"This preview launch is the first step towards that and the timing of the broader launch is based on customer feedback and the success of our updates which are key to our release criteria," added the spokesperson.

"As always, we remain focused on launching Windows Live Mail in a smart way and will make the final version available when we feel it's ready."

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Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.