Inbox unlimited

Published: Saturday 31 July 2004

-- E-mail

Google started it, Yahoo followed and Hotmail has joined them. The e-mail wars are heating up with Microsoft announcing a massive increase in storage capacity for its Hotmail customers, countering Yahoo as the two rivals look to fight a challenge from Google. Microsoft plans to offer 250 megabytes of storage to its free msn Hotmail customers in "multiple markets". That is more than double the 100 megabytes offered for free by Yahoo recently.

Google is offering free e-mail accounts with a full gigabyte of storage. Microsoft, Yahoo and others are trying to keep their users -- the best targets for advertising -- from defecting to Google. Microsoft would start making upgrades for its 170 million customers, along with free virus scanning of incoming mails, in early July. But Google's Gmail service has an advantage in that it allows users to search quickly through their e-mail messages. Yahoo also provides e-mail search, but Google's search is much faster.

Whoever wins this war, customers will probably never have to clear their inboxes again.

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