Windows Live Mail

Not sure if anyone here was ever a hotmail user, I know many many years ago I was – a time when you got something like 2mb of mail storage and not much else. It was slow, prone to awful amounts of spam mail, and the worst thing was that if you didn't check your mail in 30 days or 3 months or something they temporarily suspended your account.

Soon after I got that account I moved on and opened up a onebox account. Which seemed fairly good at the time – until they started wanting to charge for the service. I decided that rather than hassle myself with changing email accounts I would pay the $30 for a year. I was unimpressed though that after a year they automatically charged me again without requesting it. I quickly cancelled that account and moved on to a account. This seemed good at the time as they offered 100mb of mail storage and fairly useful.

After that I discovered the joy of pop accounts, I started using a mail account from my ISP and downloading messages to outlook express. This was a comparative joy, seemed a whole lot faster because it was local and I never had to delete messages.

Then came Gmail. This was a perfect solution for me. It allowed me to download messages to my mail client (at which time I had changed over to Mozilla Thunderbird), and furthermore, it allowed me to always leave my mail in Gmail and know that if I was away I could just check my mail online and know that it was all there, whether downloaded or not. I don't use the on-line interface very often, but I find it is very simple to get around and very quick to find messages when I need to.

When I heard that Microsoft were launching their new Windows Live Mail beta, I thought, hmm, sure it's worth checking out to see if they've come along a bit now to keep up with the competition.

So I signed up for an account and must say that I was fairly disappointed. They still have an account deactivation period, it still seems fairly slow and clunky, outgoing messages have advertising included, and when you send a mail you get big banner adverts showing happy people jumping on a beach, delighted about the fact that they are using Windows Live.

I would have thought that they could have done something a little fancier really, considering that they are playing catch up on the competition (although they probably have a lot of users signed up I suppose).

The mail interface is obviously set up to be similar to outlook, the contacts area seems dreadfully weak, and the calendar just doesn't match up to Google's offering.

Anyone else tried this out? I'm unimpressed, but maybe I'm missing something?

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