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Microsoft is launching a $30 million ad campaign today to promote Outlook.com -- a new product meant to compete with Internet-based email systems like Google Inc.’s Gmail. 

That’s going to be some stiff competition. Gmail is currently the big dog in Iinternet-based email. It has 306 million worldwide users, not including those who visit only on mobile devices, according the latest data from research firm comScore. 

“A lot of people are directing their office email to Gmail,” says  Raj Venkatesan, a marketing professor at University of Virginia. He says Gmail has benefitted from the fact that people want to merge their work and personal lives into their email habits. Now, Microsoft is trying to tap into that trend too, and take advantage of how popular Outlook already is in the workplace. 

“You can build on the loyalty in the customer relationship,” Venkatasen says.  “Now Outlook can have one product that the customer can use when they're at work and when they're at home.”

Outlook.com has been in test mode since last summer, and Microsoft claims it has already been adopted by over 60 million people. 

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