Microsoft has been slowly rolling out a new version of it's Hotmail service. As of this week all users will be migrated from the 'Classic' and 'Full' versions to the new integrated version.  The 'Classic' version was a light-weight version designed for performance while the 'Full' version had many more bells and whistles and was designed for users with a faster Internet connection as the additional functionality resulted in heavier pages and therefore longer page load times. 

According to Dick Craddock, Group Program Manager for Hotmail, performance was a key concern with the new version:

We think improving download speed is some of the most important work we do.

Comparisons are provided of the response time improvement for four common tasks on the old and new version for both first time visits and repeat visits.  Kudos to the Hotmail team for adding new functionality and improving the page load times as often times performance is sacrificed in order to add new functionality.  

You would think performance improvements would be seen as a good thing however the original post introducing the changes has received over 2600 comments mostly from dissatisfied users.  The follow-on post has generated an additional 1100 comments.   Many of the complaints are regarding specific bugs or changes in the functionality, many people seem to be over-looking the performance improvements.  Anything new takes some getting used to like a new car - every time I get in a rental I have to take a few minutes to familiarize myself with where all the knobs and buttons are.

So what's more important improved performance and new functionality or maintaining the status quo?