They ~still~ make Outlook?
Heh... it's all I use, other than HH webmail! :)
>> "Outlook.com has been built separately and from the ground up—this isn’t just a port of Hotmail with some extra features slapped on."
Microsoft's nose just grew to some degree. The mail exchanger records show that mails to outlook.com go to the same servers as mail to hotmail.com. They may, or may not be sending them to separate stores after that, but they're definitely using the hotmail infrastructure as part of outlook.com's operation.
evil@saturn:~$ nslookup> set type=MX> outlook.comServer: 127.0.1.1Address: 127.0.1.1#53
outlook.com mail exchanger = 10 mx1.hotmail.com.outlook.com mail exchanger = 10 mx2.hotmail.com.outlook.com mail exchanger = 10 mx3.hotmail.com.outlook.com mail exchanger = 10 mx4.hotmail.com.
Also, they seem to be using the exact same type of Linux-based load balancers for the main web-sites, so it's more likely that they didn't really reconsider/redesign the back end from the ground up - just improve the interface to be more appealing to business.