How Hotmail Changed The World Of Microsoft And Email Forever

Hotmail Changed Microsoft (and email) Forever

Some years ago or I say almost 2 decades ago no one knew what revolution this world will see after the birth of the internet.

But today we all are connected to the internet like the nerve cells are connected to our brains. The most important aspect of today’s internet is Email. It was in 1995 when the first web-based mail service was invented by Sabeer Bhatia called Hotmail. Let us travel back in time to see how and when it all started and how Hotmail changed the world of Microsoft and email forever.

Chapter 1: The Early Life

Can you imagine how people used to communicate without free emails?

I cannot. On July 4, 1995, two ex-employees of Apple -Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia came up with the idea of a free web-based mail service. It was initially named “Hotmail” to show that it is, made with the help of HTML. The storage was specifically low, at 2 Mb.

But, Hotmail gained popularity and had up to almost 8.5 million registered users. Good job Hotmail !!

 Earlier only a limited number of people had access to ISDN for high-speed internet.

Despite having tough competitors in the market like RocketMail(known as Yahoo now), Hotmail was successful in its initial years.  Now for all professional talk, we make use of emails. This is quite handy while finding bloggers in outreach.

This is how Hotmail used to look in 1996.

P.S – Thank you Sabeer and Jack for giving us this web-based service.

Chapter 2: Where it all Began

It was the time when Microsoft was running an online service called MSN and Bill Gates wanted to develop its web-based mail. It was Marco DeMello who suggested Bill Gates buy a mail service instead of creating one, as it was not possible to make a system like that for them. Marco DeMello who is currently the CEO of mobile security firm PSafe Technology was a Microsoft executive back then. He was handed the job of managing the integration of Hotmail with Microsoft’s MSN. 

And then that day came. On December 29, 1997, Bill Gates purchased Hotmail with a whopping price of 450 million dollars.

Chapter 3: Mistake? Maybe, Maybe not

Of course, migrating Hotmail to Windows was not a cakewalk for them. It was one of the most challenging tasks.

Yes,  Mistakes were made. Millions and millions of dollars were spent.

At those time, Windows was not as developed as it is today. This task needed monitoring. There was the pressure of moving Hotmail into Windows. Not only this, this task was delicate and a little complex. The task was to integrate Unix on the front end with Sun Solaris on the back-end side in Windows servers.

 At first, DeMello and his team were finding it almost difficult to integrate it.

Also the CEO of Sun, Scott never missed a chance to troll Microsoft. Tough time with Microsoft, right?

But after some process, DeMello and his team(Cutler and crew, the architect of the Windows NT server), were able to make it through. Everything was kept in mind, from TCP/IP protocols to security, from storage to monitoring. Even the scalability and memory management, everything has to be perfect

Chapter 4: This is not an end

Well, the concept of a “happy ending” had not yet come to Microsoft. It took 3 years for Microsoft to migrate to Windows from Solaris after migrating Hotmail but, Windows was not that advanced.

Handling millions of active users was a big deal. And serving millions of customers with their requests means you need a data center. ah! seems like Microsoft was the favorite customer of the problem. Well, jokes apart, in 1990 the storage was costly and hence you had to pay a hefty amount for GB of space and Microsoft had to construct a data center.

 Problems didn’t end there. It is said that due to some technical lack by the developers of Hotmail, there was a threat to the security of all the Hotmail users. Believe me, this bug was there for at least 2 months!

Over 50 million Hotmail accounts were t being accessed by just writing ‘eh’ in the password.

Can you even think of someone accessing your account by writing ‘eh’?

After this aftermath, Microsoft applied strict password policies and made sure that no bugs are remaining. It also instructed its users not to share their passwords with anyone.

Chapter 5: Final Part

    Now as Hotmail was integrated into Windows, it was the of gradation. Hotmail upgraded all its servers. But in the era of new technologies, Hotmail faced competition with Gmail. Unfortunately, Hotmail lagged. But it is said that better late than never. Hotmail took it as a lesson and came back better.

Hotmail was renamed as “Windows Live Mail ” and then again as “Windows Live Hotmail”. Along with this, Microsoft started re-writing the codes of Hotmail in C# and asp.net to make it more of a Microsoft product from Perl and C++. That’s how Hotmail changed Microsoft.

Also for unblocking series you can check it out here.

And today we all know Hotmail as Outlook.

Did you know this?

Well, I didn’t.

harshitbhootra

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