How 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 internet.

But today we all are connected to the internet like the nerve cells are connected with our brains.             The most important aspect in today’s internet is Email. It was in 1995 when first web-based mail service was invented by Sabeer Bhatia called as 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 an idea of free web- based mail service. It was initially named as “HoTMaiL” to show that it is  , made with the help of HTML . The storage was specifically low, 2 Mb.

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

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

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

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 online service called MSN and Bill Gates wanted to develop its own web based mail. It was Marco DeMello who suggested Bill Gates to 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  a 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 dollar.

Chapter 3 : Mistake ? Maybe , Maybe not

Of course , migrating Hotmail in Windows was not a cake walk 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 a pressure of moving Hotmail into Windows. Not only this , this task was delicate and 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 Windows NT server), they were able to make 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 “happy ending” had not yet came 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 centre. ah! seems like Microsoft was the favorite customer to problem. Well , jokes apart ,as in 1990 the storage was costly and hence you had to pay a hefty amount for GB of space and Microsoft has to construct a data centre.

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

Over 50 million Hotmail account were t being accessed by  just writing ‘eh’ in 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 there are no bugs remaining. They 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 up gradation. Hotmail upgraded all its servers . But in era of new technologies Hotmail faced competition with gmail . Unfortunately , Hotmail lagged behind . 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 to “Windows Live Hotmail” . Along with this , Microsoft started re-writing the codes of Hotmail in C# and asp.net to make it more a Microsoft product from Perl and C++ . That’s how Hotmail changed the Microsoft.

Also for unblocking series you can check out here.

And today we all know Hotmail as Outlook.

Did you knew this?

Well , I didn’t .

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