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com - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM is a web-based suite of webmail, contacts,
tasks, and calendaring services from Microsoft. One of the
world's first webmail services,[3] it was founded in 1996 as
Hotmail (stylized as HoTMaiL) by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack
Smith in Mountain View, California, and headquartered in
Sunnyvale.[4][5] Microsoft acquired Hotmail in 1997 for an
estimated $400 million, calling it MSN Hotmail, later
rebranded to Windows Live Hotmail as part of the
Windows Live suite of products.[2][6] Microsoft released the
final version of Hotmail in October 2011, available in 36
languages.[7][8][9] It was replaced by Microsoft's
in 2013. inbox with open Skype windows
Type of site Webmail, contacts, tasks, and
Contents Available in 106 languages
History Owner Microsoft
Launch of Hotmail
Website (
MSN Hotmail
Security issues m)
Competition Alexa rank 3,397 (April 2018)[1]
Windows Live Hotmail
Commercial Yes
Transition to
Transition to a new infrastructure Registration Required
2017 redesign Users 400 million[2]
Features Launched July 4, 1996 (as Hotmail)
Security and privacy
July 31, 2012 (as
Active View
Calendar Current status Online
People Content Proprietary
Tasks license
Office Online integration
Skype integration
Quick views and one-click filters
Mobile applications
Mail client access
Popularity with spammers Page 1 of 15 - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM

Requests for contact details

US government surveillance
See also
External links


Launch of Hotmail
Hotmail service was founded by Sabeer Bhatia[10] and Jack Smith, and was one of the first webmail services on the
Internet along with Four11's RocketMail (later Yahoo! Mail). It was commercially launched on July 4, 1996,
symbolizing "freedom" from ISP-based email[11] and the ability to access a user's inbox from anywhere in the world.
The name "Hotmail" was chosen out of many possibilities ending in "-mail" as it included the letters HTML, the
markup language used to create web pages (to emphasize this, the original type casing was "HoTMaiL"). The limit for
free storage was 2 MB.[5] Hotmail was initially backed by venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. By December
1997, it reported more than 8.5 million subscribers.[12] Hotmail initially ran under Solaris for mail services and
Apache on FreeBSD for web services, before being partly converted to Microsoft products,[13][14] using Windows
Services for UNIX in the migration path.[15]

MSN Hotmail
Hotmail was sold to Microsoft in December 1997 for a reported $400
million, and it joined the MSN group of services.[16] Hotmail quickly
gained in popularity as it was localized for different markets around the
globe, and became the world's largest webmail service with more than 30
million active members reported by February 1999.[17] Hotmail originally
ran on a mixture of FreeBSD and Solaris operating systems.[18] A project
was started to move Hotmail to Windows 2000. In June 2001, Microsoft
claimed this had been completed; a few days later they retracted and
admitted that the DNS functions of the Hotmail system were still reliant
on FreeBSD. In 2002 Hotmail still ran its infrastructure on UNIX servers, An old Hotmail inbox layout
with only the front-end converted to Windows 2000.[19] Later embedded in Microsoft Outlook
development saw the service tied with Microsoft's web authentication
scheme, Microsoft Passport (now Microsoft account), and integration
with Microsoft's instant messaging and social networking programs, MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces (later
Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces, respectively).

Security issues Page 2 of 15 - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM

In 1999, hackers revealed a security flaw in Hotmail that permitted

anybody to log into any Hotmail account using the password 'eh'. At the
time it was called "the most widespread security incident in the history of
the Web".[20] In 2001, the Hotmail service was compromised again by
computer hackers who discovered that anyone could log into their
Hotmail account and then pull messages from any other Hotmail account
by crafting a URL with the second account's username and a valid
message number. It was such a simple attack that by the time the patch The old MSN Hotmail inbox from
was made, dozens of newspapers and hundreds of web sites published
exact descriptions allowing tens of thousands of hackers to run rampant
across Hotmail. The exploitable vulnerability exposed millions of accounts to tampering between August 7, 2001 and
August 31, 2001.[21][22]


In 2004, Google announced its own mail service, Gmail. Featuring greater storage space, speed, and interface
flexibility, this new competitor spurred a wave of innovation in webmail.[23] The main industry heavyweights –
Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail – introduced upgraded versions of their email services with greater speed, security, and
advanced features.[24][25]

Windows Live Hotmail

Microsoft's new email system was announced on November 1, 2005, under the codename "Kahuna", and a beta
version was released to a few thousand testers. Other webmail enthusiasts also wanting to try the beta version could
request an invitation granting access. The new service was built from scratch and emphasized three main concepts of
being "faster, simpler, and safer". New versions of the beta service were rolled out over the development period, and
by the end of 2006 the number of beta testers had reached the millions.[26]

The Hotmail brand was planned to be phased-out when Microsoft announced that the new mail system would be
called Windows Live Mail, but the developers soon backtracked after beta-testers were confused with the name
change and preferred the already well-known Hotmail name, and decided on Windows Live Hotmail. After a period of
beta testing, it was officially released to new and existing users in the Netherlands on November 9, 2006, as a pilot
market. Development of the beta was finished in April 2007, Windows Live Hotmail was released to new registrations
on May 7, 2007, as the 260 million MSN Hotmail accounts worldwide gained access to the new system. The old MSN
Hotmail interface was accessible only by users who registered before the Windows Live Hotmail release date and had
not chosen to update to the new service. The roll-out to all existing users was completed in October 2007.

Windows Live Hotmail was awarded PC Magazine 's Editor's Choice Award in February 2007,[27] March 2007,[28] and
February 2011.[29]

In 2008 it was announced that the service would be updated with focus on improving the speed, increasing the
storage space, better user experience and usability features, and that sign-in and email access speeds would be up to
70 percent faster.[30] The classic and full versions of Windows Live Hotmail were combined in the new release. As a
result of user feedback, Hotmail was updated so that scrolling works for users who have the reading pane turned off. It Page 3 of 15 - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM

was also expected that Hotmail team would be moving the advertisement from the top of page to the side, adding
more themes, increasing the number of messages on each page and adding the ability to send instant messages from
the user's inbox in future releases.[31]

Support for Firefox in the upgraded Windows Live Hotmail took a few months to complete. By 2009, support for
Google Chrome was still incomplete, prompting the Chrome developers to temporarily ship a browser that employed
user agent spoofing when making requests to the Windows Live site.[32]

As part of the update, Microsoft also added integrated capability for instant messaging with contacts on the Windows
Live Messenger service. The feature was the realization of a project that began as "Windows Live Web Messenger" in
2007, a replacement for the outdated "MSN Web Messenger" service that was first introduced in August 2004. It was
noted that the original "Windows Live Web Messenger" featured tabbed conversations in a "conversation workspace",
however since its integration with Hotmail this has been removed.[33][34]

Microsoft's search engine Bing was integrated into Hotmail in 2009 through the introduction of a "Quick Add"
feature, allowing users to add search results from Bing into emails. These include images, maps and business

On May 18, 2010, Microsoft unveiled the "Wave 4" update of Hotmail,
which offered features such as 1-click filters, active views, inbox sweeping,
and 10 GB space for photos, Microsoft Office documents, and
attachments.[36] It also included integration with Windows Live SkyDrive
and Windows Live Office, a free version of Microsoft's Office Web Apps
suite. The new version began its gradual release to all Hotmail users on
June 15, 2010[37] and was completely rolled out on August 3, 2010.[38]
"Wave 4" version of Windows Live
Exchange ActiveSync support was enabled to all Hotmail users on August
30, 2010, allowing users to sync their mail, contacts, calendar and tasks
to their mobile devices that supports the protocol.[39] Addition of full-
session SSL was released on November 9, 2010.

Throughout 2011, Microsoft added several new features to Hotmail, such as aliases[40] and speed improvements.[41] In
October 2011, Microsoft unveiled a "re-invented Hotmail", and added many new features such as Instant Actions,
scheduled Sweep, and Categories[42][43][44] and this update began fully rolling out on November 9, 2011.[45] This
update also made SSL enabled by default on all accounts.

Transition to was first introduced on July 31, 2012 when its beta version was made available to the general public.
Existing Hotmail customers could freely upgrade to the preview version of and downgrade back.[46] graduated preview stage on 18 February 2013. According to Microsoft, the upgrade was deployed on
April 3, 2013; the user kept their existing Hotmail accounts and received the option of having an email
address. By May 2013, had 400 million active users.[47] By May 2014, continued to have
400 million active users.[48] Page 4 of 15 - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM

Transition to a new infrastructure

In May 2015, Microsoft announced it would move the service over to what
it described as an Office 365-based infrastructure.[49] This was followed
in June 2015 by the introduction through an opt-in preview of new
features, including new calendar layout options, a filtering service called
"Clutter" and new theme designs.[50] Microsoft also introduced the ability
for third-party providers such as PayPal and Evernote to include add-ins
into the service.[51] Additionally, contact suggestions and updates from, with third-party add-ins
emails such as flight reservations are due to be introduced to Office 365 within a new message preview
subscribers' accounts and users' from January and March
2016 respectively.[52] With the upgrade, users were no longer able to use
the Windows Live Mail 2012 client to synchronize their email, contacts and calendar event using the official settings;
they were encouraged to view through a web browser, through the Mail app, or through the Microsoft
Outlook client.[53] However, Windows Live Mail could be configured to use the IMAP protocol (or the less effective
POP3) to fetch mail only.[54][55] Microsoft concluded this preview stage in February 2016, when it began to roll out the
new version to users' accounts, beginning with North America.[56]

2017 redesign
On August 8, 2017, Microsoft launched a new opt-in beta toggle allowing
users to test upcoming changes to the Mail, including a
faster inbox, a responsive design, and the ability to search for emojis.[57]
There was also an introduction of the Photos Hub, the 5th component of [58]

On October 30, 2017, Microsoft announced that it would phase out its
" Premium" subscription service, which offered features 2017 beta
such as expanded storage and removal of ads from the user interface.
These benefits were subsequently made available to Office 365
subscribers, and Microsoft will no longer accept new subscriptions to Premium. Existing
Premium subscribers may continue to renew their existing subscription.[59]

The old interface, which dated from 2016, will be phased out in mid-February 2018.

Similar to other major webmail services, uses Ajax programming techniques and supports later versions
of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. Some of its features include keyboard controls giving the
ability to navigate around the page without using the mouse, the ability to search the user's messages including
structured query syntax such as "from:ebay", message filters, folder-based organization of messages, auto-completion
of contact addresses when composing, contact grouping, importing and exporting of contacts as CSV files, rich text
formatting, rich text signatures, spam filtering and virus scanning, support for multiple addresses, and different
language versions. Page 5 of 15 - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM

One example of a feature no longer present is the ability to create custom domain names.[60]

Security and privacy has promised to respect users' privacy, specifically targeting Gmail's privacy practices.[61]
does not scan emails or attachments for advertising information and personal conversations are ad-free

In March 2014, when former Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo was

arrested for his involvement in 2012 leaking of Microsoft's trade secrets,
Microsoft came under criticism for having accessed the email inbox of his
French accomplice.[64][65] Critics claim these actions violate privacy
laws[66][67] as well as Microsoft's own promises with regards to users'
personal information,[68] while others have pointed out that such access
is permitted under Microsoft's privacy policies in order to "protect the
rights or property of Microsoft",[69][70] that it was necessary in order to
prevent a crime intended to have inflicted billions of dollars of damage,
and that such action on Microsoft's part is unprecedented in 18 years.[71]
In response to the criticism, Microsoft has announced that it would no Advertisement for on
longer access private account information themselves in such cases, but the side of a bus
would instead hand the investigation over to law enforcement
agencies.[72][73] uses DMARC specifications to provide better security for message transmission and Extended Validation
Certificate to secure the user's connection with[74] On April 17, 2013, Microsoft added two step
verification to Microsoft accounts, thereby by extension to[75]

Outlook also allows for a single-use code to be used instead of a user's password when signing into a Microsoft
account. Each code can only be used once, but one can be requested whenever needed. If a user is signing in on a
public computer—such as at the library or school—using a single-use code helps keep account information secure. The
single-use code is sent to the user when requested during login.[76]

Active View's Active View allows users to interact directly with contents and functionality within their email message.
For example, any photo attachments can be previewed directly using Active View. In addition, provides a
partner platform which allows contents and functionality from various websites and services such as YouTube, Flickr,
LinkedIn, and the United States Postal Service to be viewed directly within the email message. For example, users may
view the YouTube video within when a user receives an email which contains a link to the video. Other
Active View features include tracking of real time shipping status from United States Postal Service and performing
social networking actions on LinkedIn or other social networking sites directly from within the email message.

Calendar Page 6 of 15 - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM

Outlook's time-management web application was first released on

January 14, 2008 as Windows Live Calendar, and was updated to the
"Wave 4" release on June 7, 2010. It was updated with Microsoft's Metro
design in a phased roll-out to users from April 2, 2013.[77]

Calendar features a similar interface to desktop calendar applications

such as Windows Calendar, and supports iCalendar files for users to
import calendar entries into their calendars. It uses Ajax technology Calendar, as seen in 2016
which enables users to view, add and drag-and-drop calendar events from
one date to another without reloading the page, and features daily,
weekly, monthly and agenda view modes. It also features a to-do list function for users to keep track of their tasks to
be completed.

Calendar events are stored online and can be viewed from any location. Multiple calendars can be created and shared,
allowing different levels of permissions for each user.

Outlook's contacts management service was originally known as Windows Live Contacts and before that, Windows
Live People. It provides users with access to their contacts' profiles and information, allowing them to share different
information with different groups of people. Besides an address book, People also provides integrated services with
social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.[78] The service was rebranded to its current name in 2012, introducing a
new interface based on the Metro design language that had already been introduced with

Contacts are automatically updated in real-time, and the service allows for the removal of duplicated contact entries
when imported with Profile. Users can also set limits on what parts of their contact details can be seen by others.

Tasks is task management component of introduced during the transition to the Office 365-based

Office Online integration integrates with Office Online to allow viewing and editing of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint
documents that are attached to the email messages. Users can directly open attached Office documents within the web
browser, and save them into their OneDrive. Users can also perform edits to any received Office documents, and
directly reply to the sender with the edited version of the document. In addition, users may also send up to 25 GB of
Office documents (up to 50 MB each) using by uploading these documents onto OneDrive, and share
these documents with other users for viewing or collaboration. Users can also save emails to OneNote.[79]

Skype integration
A preview version of Skype for started rolling out in the UK on April 30, 2013. This feature allows users
to make a Skype video call within without using the Skype desktop client.[80] Page 7 of 15 - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM

Sweep offers a "virtual broom" which allow users to delete or move
large numbers of emails into specified folders based on the sender's
information. Once a "sweep" is performed, the user may choose to
configure to remember the sweep settings and perform the
same move or delete actions for any future emails. Users may also set up
custom message rules based on the sender's or recipient's information,
the subject of the email, or attachments to the email. There is also an
The shortcut panel, which links
option to delete/move messages that are older than a specified number of
various Microsoft online services,
days, or only keep the latest message from a sender.

Quick views and one-click filters

Quick views allow users to filter all emails (in all folders) by document attachments, photo attachments, flagged
messages, or shipping updates. One-click filters allow users to filter the inbox (or specific folder) based on whether or
not the email message is unread, from the People service list, group mailing lists, or from a social networking website.
Categories appear under quick views for ease of access.

Users can create additional, unique email addresses, called aliases, for their Microsoft account. As of April 17, 2013,
users can now sign in with any alias and create up to 10 aliases per year for a total of up to 10 addresses. For a given
account, all aliases uses the same inbox, contact list, and account settings—including password—as the primary
address. Once an alias is set up, users can choose to have all email sent to that address go to the inbox, or to a different
folder.[81] Emails sent from an alias do not reveal to recipients that they come from an account with other addresses.

Mobile applications
Microsoft has released client applications for Android and iOS, allowing users to access their inboxes and send new
messages. The apps were formerly known as Accompli, which was acquired by Microsoft in December 2014, and were
rebranded as Outlook Mobile in January 2015.

Mail client access supports email clients connecting through the following protocols, listed in chronological order:

WebDAV was used by Outlook Express but was discontinued on September 1, 2009.[82][83]
Microsoft Outlook 2002 introduced in Microsoft Office XP included integrated support for
DeltaSync was used by Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector, a free plug-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 or
2010. Using the Outlook connector, users can freely access email messages, contacts, and calendars in any account, though access to tasks and notes requires a premium subscription. Another alternative for
users is to use the Windows Live Mail desktop client, which had built-in support for Hotmail.[85]
Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) access has been made available for all Hotmail accounts as part of the
"Wave 3" release, adding support to access Hotmail from any email client that supported this protocol.[86] Page 8 of 15 - Wikipedia 6/1/18, 9(09 AM

Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) support was added as part of the Hotmail "Wave 4" release, allowing users to
synchronise not just their email, but also their contacts and calendar on any device that supports EAS.[87]
On September 12, 2013, Microsoft added support for Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and


Popularity with spammers

Like many free webmail services, Hotmail was often used by spammers for illicit purposes such as junk or chain
mailing and unwanted marketing, due to wide availability, service popularity, and ease of registration of new
accounts.[90] Hotmail amended its service agreement stating that any account engaging in these activities would be
terminated without warning.[91][92]

Requests for contact details

The ability to associate accounts with mobile phones or other email addresses was initially advertised as
an optional feature.[93] However, an update in 2013 required many users to associate their accounts before the website
would allow them to log in - a refusal which could be sidestepped by using an app, such as Windows Live Mail 2011 or
2012, to access the account instead of a web browser (and it remains possible to "associate" an account with a one-use,
or otherwise 'disposable', e-mail address).[94] Some users also saw messages that their accounts would expire if they
continued to use them anonymously.

US government surveillance
According to, several top-secret internal National Security Agency (NSA) newsletters indicate that
Microsoft has allowed NSA to access chats and emails on, and implemented a bypass of its advertised
encryption in order to facilitate government access.[95]

One newsletter entry dated December 26, 2012, shows that Microsoft had "developed a surveillance capability to
deal" with the interception of encrypted chats on, within five months after the service went into
public testing.[95]
Another entry states that "for Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and emails will be unaffected
because Prism collects this data prior to encryption".[95]
In response to the report, Microsoft stated, among other things, that "when we upgrade or update products we aren't
absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands" and that "there are aspects of this debate
that we wish we were able to discuss more freely".[95]

See also
Comparison of webmail providers

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