Hotmail (the uppercase H, T, M, and L are HTML homages) is a free e-mail web service started in 1995 by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia. Originally launched in 1996 by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia as Hotmail (a reference to HTML, the language of the Internet), Hotmail was originally folded into Microsofts online MSN service. Hotmail was founded on July 4, 1996, by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, while Outlook was launched on July 31, 2012. Hotmail initially ran on Solaris for e-mail services, and Apache on FreeBSD for web services, then migrated partly over to Microsoft products, with Windows services for Unix being part of the migration path.
Since its inception, Hotmail has used a mix of FreeBSD Web servers to handle the Hotmail front-end, and Sun Solaris on Sparq for the back-end. Hotmails needs exceeded Microsofts capabilities with Windows NT Server, and it would not begin migrating back-end functionality until 2004. This back-and-forth relationship between Microsofts server development teams and Hotmails would last years, particularly in developing components of IIS, the Windows Web, and Internet services.
The IT giant was also in charge of Hotmails distribution and localization in various markets across the globe. After Microsoft acquired it, the service was renamed to MSN Hotmail, and went through a lot of logo changes.
Shortly after the acquisition, Hotmail was relaunched as MSN Hotmail, though retained all of the same features. In 1997, the company was acquired by Microsoft for an estimated $400 million, and was relaunched as MSN Hotmail. Hotmail was sold to Microsoft for an announced $400m in December 1997, with Hotmail joining MSNs suite of services. After purchasing Hotmail, Microsoft integrated it into its growing lineup of online services, branding all with the tagline MSN–the MicroSoft Network.
Hotmail went through a few names, including MSN (Microsoft Network), Hotmail, and Windows Live Hotmail. At one point, the IT giant decided to drop the “Hotmail” branding, and called the service simply Windows Live Mail. When beta testers complained about being replaced, and about preferring the brand of Hotmail, Microsoft reversed course and settled on Windows Live Hotmail. The Hotmail branding was planned for retirement when Microsoft announced Microsofts new email system was going to be called Windows Live Mail, but developers quickly reversed course after beta testers were confused by the name change and preferred the well-known name already in use, Hotmail, and settled on Windows Live Hotmail.
Microsoft released Hotmail as a successor to Outlook Express, the email client Microsoft users had come to love. Hotmail, or Windows Live Hotmail as it is currently called, is a Web-based e-mail service owned by IT giant, Microsoft. Hotmail was purchased by Microsoft in 1997, serving millions of users worldwide. Microsofts Hotmail e-mail service is the second-most-used email service after Googles Gmail, serving over 500,000 users globally.
At time of writing, because of the early adopter advantages Hotmail enjoys, it continues to be the most popular emailing service, with the largest number of subscribers. Hotmail is a free email service by Microsoft Corporation, which has been rebranded Outlook, and has integrated a variety of extra tools and features on the web. In addition, Hotmail provides a Partner Platform which allows for the viewing of content and features from a variety of websites and services, such as YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and the United States Postal Service, right inside an email message.
Hotmail also has a feature which links your account with Microsoft Outlook emails, so that you can view your messages even when you are offline. Messages from your Hotmail account can be forwarded to another account, and you can download emails to your computer or mobile device (tablet/phone) using POP3 email protocol. A Hotmail email account can easily be used with Outlook email client, Microsoft Teams, Skype, OneDrive, Office 365, and even Windows Insider program.
In 2011, Microsoft replaced Hotmail as the free webmail platform with the web-based Microsoft Personal Information Management app, which includes todays webmail, calendar, contacts, and services. In 2005, Microsoft launched Windows Live Hotmail in reaction to the competition from Googles mail service, Gmail. In the years since, Hotmail has paved the way for all subsequent Web-based mail offerings, ushering in an age of mass-consumer, free mail services. Hotmail had more problems than any other e-mail service, with disappearing mail, account login problems, and emails that did not reach their destinations.
While many people used to love Hotmail, Hotmail has since been dubbed as one of the worst email services, and users dismiss it as unprofessional, cluttered, and simply something to be avoided. Before Hotmail and its competitor, Four11 RocketMail, emails could be accessed only on devices that had specific software downloaded onto them, or required a contract for services with your Internet service provider (ISP). Like many free webmail services, Hotmail is frequently used by spammers for illegal purposes, such as spam or chain letters, and unsolicited marketing, because of the services broad availability, popularity, and ease in signing up for new accounts.
In 2008, it was announced that Hotmail was being updated, focusing on improving speed, increasing storage, better user experience, and usability features, with sign-in and accessing emails being as much as 70% faster. The rewrite, in C# and ASP.NET code, eventually ended Hotmails Sun Solaris-on-Sparc heritage, and, for better and worse, made the service a showcase of Microsofts native platforms – setting Microsoft on the path to the Office 365 platform and Azure cloud.
The older MSN Hotmail interface is accessible only by users who signed up before May 7 and did not opt-in to upgrade to Windows Live Hotmail. Microsoft acquired the e-mail service in 1997 from its original developers — and rebranded it as MSN Hotmail.