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Hotmail's login page

Hotmail is one of the most popular free "webmail" e-mail services, which are accessible from anywhere on the planet via a standard web browser. It was founded by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia in 1995, and was commercially launched on July 4, 1996, Independence Day in the U.S., symbolically representing freedom from ISPs.

Jack Smith first had the idea of accessing e-mail via the web from a computer anywhere in the world, originally as an impetus from getting by corporate firewalls blocking regular mail services. When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names ending in "-mail" and finally settled on hotmail because it included the letters "HTML" - the markup language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing.

Hotmail was backed by the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson and was later sold to Microsoft corporation, which rebranded it under its MSN umbrella. By December 1997, Hotmail reported more than 8.5 million subscribers. [1] ( By February 1999 it reported more than 30 million active members. [2] ( Hotmail serves e-mail accounts in many countries and is currently the largest webmail provider.

Hotmail offers 250 MB of free e-mail storage to their American members, and 2 MB of free e-mail storage to their other users, although they have given the 250MB limit to members from other countries. For a fee, customers can get 2GB of storage. In contrast, Yahoo! Mail offers 1GB for free currently, to all of its members with 2GB offered at a price, Gmail from Google offers over 2GB for free.

While Hotmail does not have POP3 email access, it is possible to check your email using Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express on PC and Microsoft Entourage on Mac, using the WebDAV protocol. While this service was free for a number of years, Microsoft announced on September 27 2004 that they were making it a subscription-only service for new users immediately and existing users from April 2005. However, users can get around this restriction using FreePOPs 1, a flexible free software application that allows email client access to webmail services through POP3.

On November 18 2004, Hotmail began offering email addresses from several country-specific domains. Now users can register a address. MSN had run auctions on eBay for popular addresses and the money had been donated to the NSPCC.

In December 2004, Microsoft started its new blogging service (beta) called MSN Spaces and integrated it with MSN Messenger and Hotmail.

MSN now offers a service named Microsoft Office Outlook Live. This will offer the latest version of Outlook and updates for a charge. MSN Hotmail users will then be able to use their email accounts (including Hotmail) on it.

A Hotmail account is temporarily deactivated (all messages cleared, although not the address book) if the user abandons it for a month or more. It may even be permanently deleted eventually. Hotmail Plus customers (customers who pay for extra storage) are exempt from deactivation.

Until May 10 2005 the special feature of including dots in the email address wasn't available, but with growing competition from other free email providers like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail, this feature made available to users.

External links


Note 1: FreePOPs website (for more information about program, program download) FreePOPs ( es:Hotmail fr:Hotmail it:Hotmail nl:Hotmail ja:Hotmail pt:Hotmail sv:Hotmail zh:Hotmail


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