Microsoft says ex-gmail users make up a third of 60M Outlook.com users

On top of officially announcing the launch of Outlook.com today, Microsoft is making the rounds with the press by offering some stats on the newly launched service. While announcing the service has grown to 60 million active users in just six months of the limited preview release, Outlook.com Senior Director Dharmesh Mehta told Bloomberg that a third of those users are ex-Gmail customers. The news follows the launch of Microsoft’s latest Google smear campaign with a series of “Scroogled” ads depicting security and privacy concerns related to Google scanning users’ email to display ads.

While free e-mail isn’t a huge money-maker — Mehta said Outlook.com carries about 60 percent fewer advertisements than Microsoft’s previous Hotmail product — the Redmond, Washington- based company considers it critical to gaining and retaining consumers. Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, has been losing users of its Windows operating system to smartphones and tablets such as Apple Inc.’s iPad.

According to Mehta, roughly 20 million of Outlook.com’s users  have switched from Gmail and now use the service as their “primary free e-mail account.” There is of course no real way of knowing how many users have actually decided to make the switch, and how many of those users are continuing to use both accounts. As for the Scroogled campaign, Mehta shared that Microsoft is spending “tens of millions” on many TV, online print, and bus ads in the US, as well as TV ads in Europe slated to debut in the coming weeks.