Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Microsoft and Yahoo have promised to boost storage limits for their free e-mail services, but for many users, the upgrades haven't been delivered.
Microsoft said Thursday that it will offer 250MB of storage for new Hotmail sign-ups in nine markets around the world, including the United States. But the software giant had already promised in June that all Hotmail users would receive that storage upgrade, and many have yet to see the boost.
"Essentially, our goal was to roll out the upgrades in a smart and efficient way to ensure as few problems as possible," a Microsoft representative said. "With that said, the rollout took a bit longer than we would have liked."
For its part, Yahoo announced Monday that its e-mail users would receive a storage limit boost that day to 250MB, up from 100MB. As of Thursday, users continued to report that storage limits remained at 100MB.
Despite announcing that its users could "now enjoy the flexibility of 250 megabytes of storage and a maximum attachment size limit of 10 megabytes," some will sign in without seeing these changes for a while.
"We are pleased to say that the rollout of the enhancements which were announced on Monday is going smoothly as planned and that all Yahoo Mail users worldwide will enjoy all of the numerous new benefits in the coming weeks," said Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako.
For Yahoo and Microsoft, e-mail storage limits are part of their attempts to remain competitive against the entry of Google into the market. The search engine giant unveiled its own free e-mail service, called Gmail, in April and made a huge splash when it offered 1GB of free storage. The service, still in beta testing, remains available only to invited participants.
Weeks later Yahoo announced its upgrade to 100MB, followed by Hotmail upping the ante to 250MB a month later. At the time, Hotmail offered 2MB of storage while Yahoo offered 4MB. Both services charged subscription fees for people who wanted more memory.
For now, both Microsoft and Yahoo say their upgrade plans are on track.
The Microsoft representative added that all of Hotmail's existing users in major markets, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, will have 250MB of storage by Thursday "or shortly thereafter."