According to reports, the technology and interface of Outlook.com will be replaced with Office 365, and all Outlook.com users will be migrated to Office 365 by the end of this year. As Tom Warren writes for The Verge, Microsoft Office 365 includes Outlook Web Access, and Outlook.com will reportedly begin to fit in with the former’s user interface and collection of features.

Microsoft outlook

Aligning offerings

The biggest reason for the move is to make sure that Microsoft’s Outlook, Exchange and Office 365 platforms align, which involves bringing Outlook.com on board in the name of consistency. Making sure that each of its platforms fall into line is important to Microsoft’s new direction in the build-up to the release of Windows 10.

Speaking to The Verge last week, Microsoft’s general manager of Office Apps, Rob Lefferts, claimed that Microsoft users could also see some changes to the user interface. “I expect there will be some visual enhancements,” he said. “We debated a couple of ways we could have gone about it, but given the other goals we have for Exchange, Outlook, and Outlook.com it seemed like the most straightforward way to do it.”

Outlook.com has been neglected by Microsoft for the past few months, and the company has not made any major changes to the platform. Microsoft also recently removed Google and Facebook chat from the platform in preparation for the migration.

Microsoft making life easy for developers

Potential changes to the user interface are likely to include Microsoft taking on its Outlook Web App interface which is used on Office 365. Its similarities with Outlook.com mean that most Hotmail and Outlook.com users will be familiar with the new layout, reducing any friction related to the migration.

The migration will enable Microsoft to provide extras across Outlook on various different platforms. Developers will easily be able to develop add-ons for desktop, mobile and web-based clients thanks to a common codebase.

Microsoft is gearing up for the release of the new version of its Windows operating system, which it will offer as a free upgrade. Windows 10 ushers in a new strategy for the company, based more on Windows-as-a-Service, and relying on app sales and advertising to drive revenue rather than Windows license fees.