Microsoft has reversed its decision to kill of the Hotmail brand when it brings out its new web-based email service.

The company has been working on a new email service – provisionally called Windows Live Mail – for several years, but said that feedback from users revealed a fierce loyalty to Hotmail, which has been the brand for Microsoft’s web email service since 1996. The service will now be known as Windows Live Hotmail, and some beta users will start to see the new brand with immediate effect.

Richard Sim, senior product manager at Microsoft, said on his blog that many users were “extremely loyal to the Hotmail brand and perceived the beta as an upgrade to Hotmail”.

“In fact, our most loyal users have been very happy with Hotmail for years and while they loved the improvements in the beta, some were a bit confused by name change,” he added.