If you have a Hotmail.com or Live.com account, you’re about to be sent to a brand new email experience. And if you don’t have a Microsoft-branded email account, the software giant hopes that you’ll give Outlook.com a chance.Microsoft of course used to be the leader in email. It also used to be the leader in search, in web browsing, and pretty much computers in general. But once it had to start facing competition, things went downhill fast. Indeed, Hotmail is nowhere near the juggernaut that it used to be. It still has a lot of users, but the features don’t compare to newer, better maintained options. Even so, there is one thing that Microsoft can do very well: spend money.Over the coming months, prepare to be inundated by TV commercials and streaming video ads that tout everything Outlook.com has to offer. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Here’s a breakdown of why you would want to switch to Outlook.com, or just stick with Gmail, Yahoo who, or that AOL account you’ve had way too long…The best of Outlook.comNo file size limits (sort of)Outlook.com has a 300MB attachment limit, but users who want to send over bulkier content can do so seamlessly by connecting with Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage platform. Google has a similar platform but it is not tightly integrated into Gmail.Office integrationJust like with Surface, Microsoft is playing its trump card with Office integration in Outlook.com. Users can open up Word, Excel, (etc.) documents from their email, and edit them without leaving the Outlook.com experience. Google’s connection with its Google Docs platform is very similar, but Microsoft gets points here because Google Docs is still far from being as ubiquitous as Microsoft Office.Outlook.com Office integrationSocial connectivityIf you want to tie in social media and email, Gmail shoehorns you into Google+, but Outlook.com lets you sync with your Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Skype accounts. It’s possible to poke your friends, retweet something, and write on walls all day long, without leaving the Outlook.com interface.Advertising privacyAccording to its sensationalistic ads, Microsoft does not offers your email content to advertisers. So you can send anything you want to your friends knowing that it will never end up in the eyes of corporations that want to sell you stuff.So Outlook.com does provide a pretty nice list of exclusive features, but Gmail has millions and millions of users for a reason. Here are some of the unique features Gmail offers that you still won’t find with Microsoft’s email platform:Gmail’s highlightsGoogle TalkOne of the smartest Gmail innovations, Google’s instant messenger is reason enough to keep your inbox open at all times. While there are universal IM clients that allow you to chat with your fellow Googlers outside of Gmail, there is certainly no indication that such a feature will be integrated in Outlook.com. Microsoft’s platform does integrate with Messenger, but that won’t sway anyone who is already deeply rooted in Gmail.Gmail LabsGoogle’s greatest selling point is its openness and friendliness to developers. Gmail Labs opens up tons of features that will probably never see the light of day on Outlook.com. One of my favorite is the “Undo Send” option, which purposefully delays all your emails by a few seconds just in case you hit that “Send” button too soon.Gmail LabsMultiple accountsGmail offers the very distinct ability to have multiple accounts open in the same session. So if you have separate accounts for school, work, personal, and spam, you can toggle between them seamlessly. Outlook.com does not have this functionality.Among the features that both platforms now have is the ability tag emails for organization but without needing to file them away into segmented folders. Both also allow users to “automate” their inbox by setting rules to automatically tag or store emails in specific folders.Outlook.com vs Gmail: And the winner is…So what is the takeaway from this? Outlook.com does offer some unique features, but at best they are marginally better than what Gmail delivers. Gmail, on the other hands, has some experiences that could only be found on a Google platform. Outlook.com is probably a great new tool if you happen to already be a Microsoft power user, but if you’re happy with your Gmail account, it’s tough to recommend that you should switch to Outlook.com.