Hotmail, now called Windows Live Hotmail, is a free email service from the IT giant Microsoft. Ranking second only to Yahoo! Mail in the number of active users, Hotmail is one of the premier and popular web based email providers – according to some statistics, the share of the two companies is almost equal. The free email service from Google, Gmail, is a distant third – refer Gmail usage statistics for details.
On this page, I’m going to list some fun facts about the Hotmail email service – things which you probably didn’t know. Enjoy!
Hotmail was officially launched on July 4, 1996, US independence day and was one of the first services to offer web based free email address to everyone. The symbolism behind the inaugural date was “freedom” from ISP based email accounts.
Hotmail founders, Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, announced the service in July 1996. Microsoft bought Hotmail from the founders in December of 1997 for a whooping $400 million. For $200 million apiece, it was indeed a huge amount for less than a couple of years of work!
Hotmail had more than 8.5 million users when it was sold to Microsoft. The service was spread to different corners of the world, as it were, and its user base increased tremendously to make it the most popular and largest web based free email service providers with 30 million users by February 1999.
The Hotmail domain name was chosen out of many possibilities because it includes the letters HTML which is the language in which all web pages are written. And, thus, the original spelling of the service was “HoTMaiL”. Read the Hotmail brand for more information.
The service has changed its name 3 times since 1996. Initially called Hotmail (or HoTMaiL, if you like), it was changed to MSN Hotmail and then to Windows Live Mail. It is now known as Windows Live Hotmail.
Twice Microsoft has been careless in their attitude towards the domain names of this service – They forgot to renew passport.com in December of 1999 and in 2003, the company missed the payment for hotmail.co.uk
When Microsoft christened their new mail system Windows Live Mail, they thought of gradually phasing out the Hotmail brand. However, this confused the users who were already familiar with the easier and catchy well-known Hotmail name. The service is now called Windows Live Hotmail and for additional information read the Hotmail brand.
Though Microsoft was slow to react to Google’s 1GB Gmail service, the Hotmail free email accounts now come with 5GB of storage and POP access on the anvil ( As of 14th of January 2009, free Hotmail POP access has been enabled for subscribers of some countries) . The paid Hotmail Plus accounts have double the storage space. Refer Hotmail features for a list of all what’s available on the free email accounts.
The original Hotmail service ran on FreeBSD and Solaris operating systems. Even after many years, Microsoft was still struggling to put it on their Windows server platform and proves a lot on the reliability of alternatives!
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