Web mail giants lock horns as Microsoft bumps up Hotmail storage limit

Just as Google announced that it would be charging for increased space on its Gmail accounts, Microsoft has upped the storage ante with an offering of 4 GB for free Hotmail account users and 10 GB for a paid service ($14.99 annual subscription). This is better than the approximately 2.8 GB that Gmail provides for free, but it falls short of the unlimited storage that Yahoo advertises.

Here is a quick summary of the features you can expect with the new Hotmail:

  • Option to go straight to your inbox, avoiding the "Today" feature on news and stories
  • A link to report on phishing (scam Web site linked to an e-mail)
  • A tool to eliminate duplicate entries from contact list (add multiple e-mail IDs to the same name if you wish)
  • Simpler way to view hyper links and images in mail
  • Support for Hebrew and Arabic
  • Better speed performance

Here's a list of options that are NOT there but can make Hotmail more appealing:

  • Support for POP3 so that users can access Hotmail accounts through third party e-mail clients (Thunderbird, for example)
  • Assurance that e-mails are not deleted if a user does not log in for a long period of time
  • Removing the feature where free Hotmail account users cannot forward mails to other mail accounts

More news links:

Microsoft increases free email storage limit (PC World)

Hotmail revs Email Space race (Ecommerce Times)

Microsoft gives Windows Live Hotmail a storage boost (InformationWeek)

The point is simple, Gmail won the heart of users with its features and not with its lock-in limitations. Microsoft has to realize that the only way to get people to adopt its services is by doing the logical thing -- introduce much wanted, efficient, and innovative services.