I logged into my Windows Live email account yesterday only to find all my email deleted. Not even a single solitary spam message left. I should be livid. Should be tearing what little hair I have left out of my head.
Instead I am simply moderately furious!
Why? Well this is not the first time Microsoft decided to delete all the email from my (then Hotmail) account. So I learned after losing valuable email the first time, not to trust any important email to Microsoft.
What makes it more annoying is that if Microsoft allowed POP access to Live Mail accounts, the way Gmail does, you would be logged in every time you fire up your email client app and you would have a local backup of your mail. But Microsoft won’t do that. Why? Because that might be useful?
After the first time I lost all my email, I didn’t trust Live Mail with any important email so this time I didn’t lose anything valuable. I kept the account because a few old domains are pointed at the email address.
Now, however, I will simply not use Live Mail for anything. I will switch the domains to point at a reliable email service.
Microsoft have a huge image problem. They are perceived as deeply uncool. Vista hasn’t helped this at all. But Windows Live is the public face of Microsoft. When Windows Live does things like ensures people can’t download their email, and then deletes it without warning, it is no wonder that Microsoft is considered yesterday’s company.
Ross Cooney of Rozmic contacted me recently to tell me of their latest product, EmailCloud.
EmailCloud is a server-side anti-(email)spam application which is accessible and configurable through a browser. The setup wasn’t as straightforward as I had hoped (I messed it up!) but a quick email to Rozmic and I had the solution back in minutes!
As you can see from the stats below, up to 75% of the emails I get are spam! However, because EmailCloud is server side, my email client never sees those emails saving me bandwidth and hassle.
The great thing about EmailCloud is that, being a hosted app, you can simply set it and forget it.
[Full disclosure – Ross set me up with a free EmailCloud account so I could try it out.]
I noticed that Chris Gilmer reported this morning that Gmail is now supporting IMAP for getting your mail as well as POP.
I quickly logged into my GMail account and Lo!, there was the IMAP option – wohoo!
Why is this a good thing? Well, previously if you wanted to read your Gmail in your email client application (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) you had to use the POP protocol. IMAP is a better protocol for doing that because as Alex Chitu pointed out:
you’re always connected to the server, more clients can connect to the same account, you can obtain the text from a message without the attachments and the state information is synchronized (you can add labels from the client, read or delete a message and Gmail will synchronize).
Of course Hotmail (or as it is now mis-nomered Windows Live Mail) still doesn’t even allow POP access (unless you pay for it), never mind IMAP. This leads to many people’s accounts being deleted and losing all their email (happened to me last year).
Hotmail used to be a ground-breaking product until Microsoft got their hands on it and slowly squeezed the life out of it.