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Microsoft adds trio of languages to Hotmail

In an effort to reach more international users, the company adds three more foreign language versions to its MSN Hotmail service: Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

In an effort to reach more international users, Microsoft today announced it has added three more foreign language versions to its MSN Hotmail service: Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

The move is an acknowledgment of the fast-growing number of Internet users in Europe and Latin America.

The free Web-based email service now offers seven language variants and has a total of about 50 million members, according to a statement released today.

The new localized Hotmail user interfaces will have the same features as the English version, only they are tailored for linguistic and cultural appropriateness for non-English-speaking regions.

For example, the statement said that online help and support inquiries will be answered in the user's language.

Microsoft also announced today that it will soon make its e-commerce service, called Microsoft Passport, available in different languages.

The announcement comes on the heels of criticism over Hotmail's controversial junk email filter. Users last month complained that the flow of unsolicited commercial email, commonly referred to as spam, to their in-boxes did not slow after Microsoft implemented the filter.