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Let me warn you I'm in a bit of an ornery mood today. So when I learned Microsoft is coming out with a refresh of Hotmail this week, you can understand I was less than enthused. Every time Microsoft refreshes a product, the technology press gets all excited about it as though it actually matters. Remember the Zune HD. It was going to blow the MP3 market away, only it never sold very well. Bing was supposed to change the search landscape, only Google still controls most of the same marketshare it had when Bing was launched last year. This week's model is Hotmail.

Over the next several days we are going to have to endure article after article explaining all of the wonderful reasons we should be using Hotmail, only nobody will because there is no impetus to switch. Google and Microsoft will exchange insults and next week it will all be forgotten.

Zune, Ya Right?

I remember when I posted something about the Zune release last year on Facebook. I got a snarky comment from a friend who basically said nobody really cares about the Zune. Turns out, he was one hundred percent correct. Nobody cared. We read about it for a few days and then about 12 people bought one. Oh ya and iPods and iPhones continued to sell like proverbial hot cakes. Nothing changed.

Bing? Tell Me Another One

Then there was Bing. Publishers thought they might even have a competitor for Google, but it's been a year and nothing has really changed in consumer search. Sure, Bing gained some marketshare (mostly from Yahoo!), but most people are still using Google because no matter how good Bing might have been, there was no real reason for them to change.

Hotmail? Just Another Brick in the Wall

I know, I'm particularly cynical today, but Hotmail? Really? When was the last time you saw a Hotmail account. It was probably in that Spam email for generic erectile dysfunction drugs that found its way into your inbox this morning. I know the numbers say they are more popular than Gmail, but I'm not buying it, sorry. My own particular form of networking tells me that it's 95 percent Gmail, 5 percent Yahoo!, zero percent everyone else. Hotmail could have fantastic features, and maybe it does. It could change online email as we know it, but it won't matter. Next week, it will all be forgotten and we will still be using Gmail.

Maybe this time we can just forget about the little Microsoft hype show and move along, but unfortunately, we have to put up with it for a few days, whether we like it or not until there's something else to talk about.

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Take the day off next time.
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Last Post by Lectricblue
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Did you even read about the new update to hotmail? Basically you sound stupid for not caring. They are really doing some innovative things, like opening up exchange server access for mobile devices and introducing a new email management concept to categorize things that are not quite spam but are bulk mail.

If you are a Microsoft hater, fine. But to write an article on this site basically ranting because you had a bad day basically makes you sound very unintelligent. I suggest next time you are having a bad day, to call your boss and take a personal day - it might save you a lot of embarrassment.

Oh, and I'm one of those 12 people with a Zune HD. I love mine. Before you discount me as a Microsoft fanboy, you should know that this comment was posted from my iPad.

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u mad?
Nice man. Totally agree.
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Yeah, I use Zunes and I love them. I started with the 30 GB Halo 3 Zune and then got a 120 GB Personalized Zune. I thought both were awesome and after comparing them to Ipods I think they are WAAAAAAAAAY better. Then I got the Silver Zune HD and was blown away. Sure Ipods are more POPULAR, but the factors such as graphics, free apps, battery time, and accessibility bring the Zune to the front. It's too bad that narrow-minded people like you are saying nobody gives a crap. The reason they don't give a crap is because they won't bother to try it out and break away from the redundant idiocy of the market. Read the reviews, Zune wasn't an Ipod killer, but it did very well! Break away from pop radio and listen to alternative! (Although the IPad is pretty awesome).

~Taylor James

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Zune ftw.
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Singleton,
I don't use Exchange servers, so no, I don't care. I acknowledged that there probably are some innovations, but only people who come from Microsoft shops are going to care. Individual users like me who use Gmail for my online email aren't going to be swayed to switch and that was my larger point.

I'm not a Microsoft Hater by the way. I'm just a realist.

Thanks for commenting.
Ron

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The Colour:
Again, you miss my point in my bluster. Bing, Zune and Hotmail all have innovations within them that will be lost after the initial hype session is over. The fact is that iPod, Gmail and Google Search will still dominate no matter how much Microsoft innovates.

Most people will continue to use their current tool because there is no real reason to switch. It's called inertia. Microsoft is swimming against a very strong current here and it's going to be very tough to make any headway.

Glad you like your like your Zune. :-)

Thanks for the comment.
Ron

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I thought Hotmail was a spent force already, seeing as I had not seen any incoming mail from users of that service for ages. Then I looked in my spam folder and found it was, in fact, still operating. So I agree with Ron on this one. :)

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The Colour:
Again, you miss my point in my bluster. Bing, Zune and Hotmail all have innovations within them that will be lost after the initial hype session is over. The fact is that iPod, Gmail and Google Search will still dominate no matter how much Microsoft innovates.

Most people will continue to use their current tool because there is no real reason to switch. It's called inertia. Microsoft is swimming against a very strong current here and it's going to be very tough to make any headway.

Glad you like your like your Zune. :-)

Thanks for the comment.
Ron

I wholeheartedly disagree. Innovations in these products drive the market and force competitors to change. For example, the Metro UI in the Zune is very revolutionary, and you can see Apple include some of the side scrolling concepts in their products.

Hotmail is the largest provider of free mail on the internet. It would be wise to not alienate a majority of the internet in one sentence. Maybe if you took less time writing articles that bashed products, and took more time writing articles about actual news, you would be taken more seriously on this website.

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can always tell a MS fanboy by how upset they get anytime a related product is criticised.
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Thanks, Davey. This has been my experience. I was more than a bit snarky in my post, but it doesn't change the fact that the basic premise of my post is valid.

Ron

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I wholeheartedly disagree. Innovations in these products drive the market and force competitors to change. For example, the Metro UI in the Zune is very revolutionary, and you can see Apple include some of the side scrolling concepts in their products.

Hotmail is the largest provider of free mail on the internet. It would be wise to not alienate a majority of the internet in one sentence. Maybe if you took less time writing articles that bashed products, and took more time writing articles about actual news, you would be taken more seriously on this website.

Again, I never suggested that these products didn't have innovations. In fact, I acknowledged it twice (now 3 times), but I don't think it will have any real impact on Microsoft's bottom line. I agree it will help to drive changes in the individual markets (search, mp3 and online email)and if you had read my posts regularly you would know that I write about this tension among the big companies driving one another quite often, and I agree this is a positive force and great for consumers.

I am all for competition driving innovation and change and I write about this quite often.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I really do welcome you pushing back even if you don't agree with me. It drives great discussion and I appreciate it.

Ron

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The only reason I use Hotmail at all is to use Windows Live Messenger (I use Pidgin), but I must use it because all of my friends use it. All the messenger protocols are the same when you use them in a third-party client... I would have no problem using something else.

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I'm not even aware of Windows Live Messenger, but I assume it's the Windows IM client. There is a similar integration between Gmail and GTalk.

Thanks for your comment.

Ron

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Yeah it's just the IM client which you use your hotmail email address for. A lot of teens use it so I'm a bit forced to also (16 years old)

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Ruffled a few feathers, have we, Ron? :)

I agree with you whole-heartedly. I had heard from a friend (he didn't have the details at the time) that MS was 'revolutionising' email and so on. So I went to see what was going on, and... well, let's just say I didn't exactly write home about it.

I know people still use Hotmail and MSN accounts, but I hate my account. I receive so much spam and so much of it is NOT filtered. It's unbelievable. I don't have this problem with my gmail (I do realise that I haven't had my gmail as long, but nonetheless). I have stopped using the IM because I get spammed for requests now too. And so many friends have acquired virii and I receive spam from them. So in short, I have gradually been phasing out my MSN account. It's really too bad, but there are some serious problems going on there and I just can't handle it anymore. It's not like I forward tons and emails and have my email floating around. I don't use it for anything weird, like sketchy newsletters or log-ins. When I receive these spam emails, it's usually to a list of people with similar email addresses to my own. I'm no expert in spam, but I feel I'm pretty careful.

I have a 360 and that will be the only MS product that I will support (don't get me started on the 360's problems in general, but I've been lucky to avoid any real ones so far *knock on wood*). I don't think I'm a hater or fanboy of any kind. I love technology and I love trying everything, but in the end, I go with what works. I use Mac now because I hated Windows and all the problems I had with PCs. I got an iPhone. I've had 3 iPods, with virtually no problems. I tried other mp3 players here and there, but I always missed the iPod style. I have a PS3 (which I love). And while I love Apple more and more with time, I try to remain diverse. But like I said, I just use what works. And until other companies bring out something that will truly make some waves, most people will just go with what works. Which I think is your point in this article. I'm not sure why that was misunderstood -- it seemed pretty clear.

Instead of harping on you for your article, maybe they could've provided some insight into what changes MS made and why they were important, because from what I've read, I don't see the big deal.

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Angyal:
Thanks for the great comment. Much appreciated. Ya, I figure I haven't been doing my job if I don't ruffle some feathers in at least a couple of posts each month. :-)

Preston Gralla gives some reasons in his Computer World blog and some do sound somewhat compelling, but my point wasn't that Microsoft failed to innovate with this release. They may very well have, but I honestly don't believe it's going to make non-Hotmail users run to make a switch.

Microsoft has a lot of smart people inside its organizations and they have developed worthwhile innovations with Bing, Zune and probably with Hotmail too, but my questions is does it matter to the wider market at large and my answer is probably not.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.

Ron

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I'm with you on this Ron. As a former Yahoo! and Hotmail user, I am very pleased with Gmail's performance and features. (which continue to outgrow the old guys)

An interesting piece of information:


Comscore Media Metrix (February, 2008)

Microsoft webmail properties: 256.2 million users
Yahoo: 254.6 million users
Google: 91.6 million users
AOL webmail properties: 48.9 million users

"According to the latest stats, the number of people visiting Gmail grew 43 percent last year to 29.6 million. In contrast, the much more massive Yahoo Mail grew 11 percent to 91.9 million uniques. AOL Mail finished in second place for the year with 46.6 million uniques (plus another 7.2 million visitors to AIM Mail), while Hotmail actually declined 5 percent to 43.5 million."

(Source: http://techcrunch.com/2009/01/14/gmail-grew-43-percent-last-year-aol-mail-and-hotmail-need-to-start-worrying/)

It's pretty obvious based on the decrease in visitors to Hotmail, that these upgrades/changes are not having the intended impact while on the other hand, in 2009 Gmail saw a mega growth in users by 43%!!

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I still find it hard to believe that Microsoft and Yahoo have more active users than Gmail. If my friends and associates are any indication this is just way off. In fact, I did a poll on my by Ron Miller blog. I got 93 responses with 63 percent reporting they used Gmail and just 3 percent a Microsoft online mail product. It just doesn't jive with my experience.

Thanks for yet another great and well researched comment.

Ron

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I still find it hard to believe that Microsoft and Yahoo have more active users than Gmail. If my friends and associates are any indication this is just way off. In fact, I did a poll on my by Ron Miller blog. I got 93 responses with 63 percent reporting they used Gmail and just 3 percent a Microsoft online mail product. It just doesn't jive with my experience.

Thanks for yet another great and well researched comment.

Ron

Birds of a feather flock together ;)

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