My 10 year MSN Hotmail anniversary and what it means to Gmail

Well The day has finally arrived, while I am only months away from my 10 year high school reunion. My latest accomplishment pales in comparison. Today marks the 10 year anniversary of my active relationship with Hotmail.com (please hold your applause to the end). Flying the face of a time where email was based on POP3 and ISPs, before exchange servers brought email dangerously close to the finger tips of my smart phone. There was Hotmail, maybe not the only free company around, but certainly the coolest politically correct named web based email service. I remember the day clearly, I signed up sitting in my high school computer lab surrounded by 6 out of 10 working IBMs, in between my peers avidly engaged in LAN games of Descent 3, Starcraft and Duke Nukem.

I’m sure the obvious question on everyone’s mind, (besides how awesome playing Duke Nukem 3D was) is compared to new popular services like the Google owned Gmail, how many users are still on the now MSN operated Hotmail bandwagon? Although I wish I could follow this trend all the way back the full 10 years, I am happy to report that MSN Hotmail still holds a slight lead in the number of Unique Visitors over Gmail every month. Below is a trend line for the previous 3 years, keep in mind that the domain for hotmail.com has changed over time and in late ’07 the sub-domain moved from msn.com to live.com.

How do I know it’s been a full 10 long years of blissful free web based internet use? I conveniently received a email to remind me and for this I am grateful because I would have missed out on a major celebration (or at least a good excuse to have a couple of guilt free adult beverages tonight). My favorite part of the email besides the festive fireworks and seemingly misplaced stock photos of happy couples was also some fun facts included. Like a trip down memory lane, the copy read "Back around the time you started using Hotmail"¦" – from this point I was pot committed, "Windows 98 was the hot new operating system.", which narrowly makes my top 5 favorite operating systems for the record. Also, "Titanic broke every box-office record imaginable" – something very topical with the Avatar still playing in every theater across the country and cementing James Cameron’s 10 year reign of box office mega hits. Sadly, the last reminder was that "The Spice Girls were rocking stadiums from London to LA!" — Well at least we have the Pussycat Dolls now.

Will Gmail ultimately pass Hotmail? Time will tell, but will I switch?  Even though there may be more features on Gmail, easy connections to shared calendars, groups and document sharing, will I be able to secure the coveted address superfly@gmail.com? I think not.