In the present times, electronic media covers a whole new virtual world which includes services right from online shopping to booking a cab and also sending mails to clients, friends and family. All these things look so normal these days, right? Let me tell you, the past wasn’t as easy as the present is. Just two decades ago when the internet was just a baby, various entrepreneurs worked on making the virtual world a reality. Amongst them were the pioneers of the web based mail service famously known as ‘HoTMaiL’ – Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith. Hotmail was one of the earliest email services that offered free transfer of emails over the internet and was founded in 1996.
Hotmail was a complete revolution. It was free and hence had attracted over millions of users since its humble beginning. Everyone was surprised with the services it offered. It had changed the way of people communicated. Clients could now communicate over the internet and of course, it was one of the fastest means of online communication. For the world, it was like a fantasy come true. Hotmail worked and provided email services through its own online platforms. Thanks to Hotmail, the internet was immensely overjoyed. You now had the opportunity to start enjoying the email boom. All you needed was a computer, a browser and a capable internet connection without the need of paying a single penny for services. That’s it. I think this was one of the coolest things to happen in the history of internet!
On the other side of the spectrum, Marco Dmello, the former Microsoft executive was handed over the job of finding and creating a free web based program for the whole world. But there was a catch! While managing the integration of various codes for the creation of a web based mail service, Dmello found that it was extremely difficult to move codes. The only option for Microsoft to create its dominance over the email industry was to buy an existing email service provider.
Hotmail was now at the peak of growth and success. It was during this time that the Microsoft Founder, Bill Gates saw a greater opportunity for expanding Hotmail under the banner of Microsoft. With numerous meetings and talks, Hotmail was finally sold to Microsoft for a staggering $400 million. That’s huge for a deal made in 1997. Hotmail had around 6 million registered users when it was bought by Microsoft. Great changes were yet to happen.
From the moment the deal was made, Microsoft was extremely active with the improvements to be made into Hotmail. Early Hotmail users will agree that it was far from being a ‘perfect’ email service. Initially, Hotmail had lots and lots of privacy and security flaws. Many users had reported their account being hacked which was not really a good sign. There were more problems to arise- right from security to memory. It was a difficult task to maintain things moving at a great pace as there were limitations to Unix. Migrating services to Windows servers was not an easy option. Little did they know, it would take another 3 long years to move to the Windows 2000 server.
Microsoft had now made a change in name. Hotmail would now be called as MSN Hotmail. It had expanded the language barriers and provided a wide range of languages like French, Spanish and German. The interface was changed and it looked pretty user friendly now. It looked like it was now on a smooth sail now. As most of us know, looks are deceptive and so was the situation of Microsoft’s MSN Hotmail. A storm was all ready to thunder over its operations.
In the year 2004, Google launched an extra-ordinary email service popularly known as Gmail. It offered plenty more storage and ensured the ease of sending attachments and pictures. It was a tough competitor to the MSN. To compete with the existing email service providers, in 2011, the MSN Hotmail evolved into the Windows Live Hotmail. This transition affected millions of users. Users reported the loss of their important mails which had been in their inbox since the time they had signed up.
During these early days as an email service providing company, Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail suffered a lot of losses due to some heavy security breaches. Passwords were easily hacked and there were also some login issues. Microsoft covered up all the errors and security flaws later. Considering all the problems, Microsoft made and installed many safety innovations, anti-virus features, calendar services, spell check, a built in reading pane and many others.
Finally Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail made an unbelievable transformation by expanding its services and converting them into its own new brand known as Outlook. Outlook was now intuitive, more user friendly and one could easily integrate it with other Microsoft services like Office, Skype, Xbox and One drive with an outlook account. Microsoft was back in the game, stronger than ever before.
Hotmail has revolutionized the era of emailing being of pioneer of its own race. Despite its various flaws and breaches, it made Microsoft carve its own path in the world of email. With the introduction of Outlook, things are now back on track and working perfectly fine. Outlook has tremendously improved since Microsoft learnt a lot from its flaws in the past. It is now ranked amongst the top most professional email services in the world. Every other client and employee of any Multi-national as well as small scale company prefers using Outlook owing to its awesome features. All this was possible just because of a daring and risky decision- buying the pioneer of the email, the ‘Hotmail’. Hotmail changed the way we as well as Microsoft functions. Email is now an essential part of everyone, right from Microsoft to all of its users. Don’t you think this is an awesome example of a success story?