"PS: I Love You. Get Your Free Email at Hotmail"
and here is the story of how Microsoft acquired Hotmail:
What a mistake that would have been, especially when people were new to email and online ads.
And seeing how Hotmail lost relevance and Gmail take his place few years ago, I'm wondering, is possible now that a massive product like WhatsApp can be replaced with other that do the same thing in the same way? Why Gmail won?, because the 1GB?, UI/UX?, Google marketing? Snapchat is losing to Instagram because Instagram was a established product that start to mimic Snapchat, but a new player that beat WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger? (not in China ).
Also, is WhatsApp/Messaging taking the place of email for younger audiences, casual chat, non-work related communications? Oh, I have an idea, I will love to have a "email" feature on Signal, move the asynchronous way of communication of email to the messaging apps will be awesome to avoid the attention economy / texting fatigue (and have encrypted email without the PGP complexity!). A nice feature to Signal to differentiate from the competition imo. I'm crazy?
WhatsApp on the other hand only communicates with other users that have WhatsApp, so choosing to use another messaging service means you cease to be a member of your existing network and cannot automatically communicate with all your existing contacts unless they also switch networks (or add an app to their phone — I currently have no less than eight messaging apps to stay in contact with various people).
This means that transitions cannot be gradual and unilateral. This in turn means that incumbent Hotmail was more fragile vis-a-vis newcomers such as Gmail than WhatsApp is.
And if you have full contact access, they you really don't loose much network, except the groups. Ya but it does need a strong motivation for a switch to happen immediately (With hotmail it was ofcourse the lack of usernames for new users + the 1GB tier in gmail). With WhatsApp there is no strong motivation but perhaps a slower shift due to fatigue/privacy mentioned above.
This let me think, what happens if you send a WhatsApp message to a phone number that is not registered on WhatsApp? Its saved till the user create an account with that number?
1. Gmail was invite only. It was a badge of prestige, and invites were only handed over to close friends and suck-ups.
2. Deleting emails was a regular need, but Gmail increased your space every time you logged in.
3. Spam protection. Overnight your inbox no longer needed to be pruned for actual emails.
None of those three things is revolutionary anymore.
Spam protection is harder now, and spam senders are more intelligent.
Invite-only things are viewed with suspicion, not excitement.
Most messaging services have enough space per user that deleting messages isn't a concern anymore.
Maybe someone else can revolutionise, but it won't be based on those features. A new strategy will be needed.
They were therefore crippled in these ways, and purposefully limited to a storage space just large enough to be useful if you went to the trouble of cleaning out large emails regularly. They were also plastered in ads in every way imaginable.
Gmail was a long bet that Google could, with a bit of help from Moore's law, finance a premium email service using the same methods they financed their search engine.
This strategy could absolutely win again, in a market where crippled consumer tools exists for the upsell. For example entry level project tools could easily be something Google could integrate with their office tools. Or indeed if Google crippled their office tools in their ad financed version, someone else could use this strategy against them.
Hotmail and the like required a US address and credit card for their premium service, though.
They weren't options where I was. And nor is it the norm anymore.
1. Its spam filter. Remember in the Hotmail days Spam was rampant, and desprite Microsoft best effort ( or not ) they couldn't make Hotmail close to Spam Free, not to mention lots of false positive.
Gmail was the only email services that filtered Spam good enough.
2. And more Importantly; Unlimited Space! Or at least the perception of it. You no longer had to delete email. For people here aren't old enough to know. We used to use Email actually for ALL communication instead of Whatsapp / MSN / ICQ / AIM or what other IM. And people dont want those personal conversation to be deleted. They treasure it.
Unfortunately Hotmail deleted all my old email because of some 6 or 12 months inactivity. I lost all my old record ( Love letter ) then.
Telegram is catching up and I feel it is contesting the space. WhatsApp lacks mini games, channels and stickers.
Is your idea of email in app like a thread communication?
I think WhatsApp just made a rock-solid basic product that cost $1 a year after the first year, and that was its appeal.
I remember this nice UX case study of Windows 95 that I found here in Hacker News, it was gold https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12330899
a super high-profile project to show that Windows NT, SQL Server and .NET were ready to run a high-availability, high-throughput, low-latency critical system, which MS could then use as a case study for Windows replacing ancient unix systems
you can guess how it all ended
you won't find any mention of TradElect on the MS "get the facts" website these days...
Anyone that has dealt with any major consulting company with offshore offices, knows how these projects end, even before they are fully ramped up.
IIRC Google used to scan your emails to serve personal ads.
Oh I assumed they still do. Did they stop that practice?
Also I'm not suggesting that giving everything to The Google Machine is a good thing. I was just pointing out the super sleazy gross tactics.