MSN to expand free e-mail storage to 250MB
MSN is fighting back to retain the loyalty of its e-mail customers who might be lured away with the offer of extra storage from Google and Yahoo. With the falling cost of storage, e-mail services are keen to keep customers visiting their revenue-generating portals. Besides storage, MSN is offering automatic virus scanning and spam filters.
MSN Hotmail was one of the first e-mail services to offer free desktop e-mail and Web Mail. It now has 170 million customers worldwide, according to Microsoft. The service is available in 38 markets and 18 languages.
However, MSN has been plagued by spam and has been trying hard to address the problem. "Although spam volume fluctuates daily, measurements show a combination of Microsoft technologies and solutions typically block nearly 3 billion pieces of spam a day from reaching customers' inboxes," the company said in a statement.
The excess spam and denial-of-service attacks have at times made the MSN service unusable and also have clogged up customer in-boxes, preventing users from receiving further e-mails until they clear the backlog of junk mails.
The storage limit for the free e-mail service is being increased from 2 MB to 250 MB, with the limit for attachments growing to 10 MB.
This compares with the 1 GB storage that Google is offering along with targeted advertising based on the scanned content of private e-mails. Yahoo recently has announced an increased free storage capacity of 100 MB. It says that it will begin increasing storage limits for its customers later this summer.
In its new form, MSN will scan and automatically clean all incoming and outgoing e-mail for viruses and worms.
"We know from talking with our customers that online safety is their No. 1 concern," said Blake Irving, corporate vice president of communication services and member platform for MSN. "Providing free antivirus cleaning helps protect our Hotmail customers, while guarding members of the overall Hotmail community and the friends and family they e-mail."
Customers who pay US$19.95 a year will receive 2 GB of online storage and be able to send 20 MB attachments.
This service replaces the existing Hotmail extra storage service. They also will receive a service free of graphical advertising. MSN premium subscribers will receive the extra storage later this year.