Saturday, September 22, 2007

POP Access for Hotmail Plus users

This is what Omar Shahine (Lead Program Manager, Hotmail) posted at its Team site of Windows Live Hotmail.

"....we have realized that even though we provide rich synchronization of your email and folders with Outlook (via Outlook Connector) and Windows Live Mail lots of people still want and demand POP.

Well, it's been a dirty little secret that Hotmail has always maintained a POP service for a small segment of customers. It's always been very limited, and we didn't want to encourage or offer it to more customers because we've always had ambitions for providing for a scalable and cost effective protocol (which POP is not in the world of huge inboxes). Well we now have this protocol, it's called DeltaSync, and it's something that Outlook and Windows Live Mail use. What we didn't want to do is offer POP access and then have Outlook and Windows Live Mail customers use POP over DeltaSync. Now that we have free offline mail access we have focused our energies on offering users who use clients like Eudora, Thunderbird, and Apple Mail the ability to get their Hotmail in those clients. Additionally, most all mobile devices today support POP (including the Apple iPhone) and to date we haven't been able to offer folks with a data plan a rich way to get their email unless they are using Windows Mobile (and even that is limited depending on carrier).

A few months ago some folks on the team hatched a plan to finally offer POP and starting this week Hotmail Plus users ($19.95 a year) will be able to use POP access from any device. In the interest of transparency though I want to be clear that we have plans to offer POP to all users (all premium and free) but we aren't ready to do that yet. I can't comment on a timeframe for when free users will get POP, but we hope to do so within the next 12 months.

Our POP service requires that you use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) with the POP and SMTP connection and use SMTP authentication. This is to ensure that your email address and password are not subject to tampering. The settings are the following:
POP: (port 995)
SMTP: (port 25)
Note: make sure you check the box that indicates that your outgoing server requires authentication (in most mail clients this is not checked by default)....."

Yes indeed a welcome addition.

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