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by Franki

MSN and Hotmail web mail systems will soon flag E-mail that doesn’t conform to Microsoft’s patented SenderID process as potential SPAM. There are several problems with their announcement, not the least of which is that Microsoft’s SenderID is not usable by Open Source MTA (Mail Transfer Agents, or Mail server software) which handle most of the Internet’s E-mail. It’s unusable because Microsoft made their license incompatible with Open Source software, intentionally it seems. This is the same tactic Microsoft are employing with their EU anti-competitive remedies. They are forced to make interoperability information available, and they did so, but in a way that makes their biggest competitor unable to use it.

Basically, if you own a Hotmail or MSN email account, after Microsoft starts flagging non SenderID email as potential SPAM, you can no longer guarantee that you will actually see all the E-mail you are sent, whether it’s SPAM or not. The reason for that is because SenderID is not universally used, in fact it’s not even on the majority of the E-mail systems (try slightly over 1% of mail servers).

This appears to be yet another case of Microsoft’s Extend, Embrace and Extinguish philophosy. They joined the coalition that was looking for an answer to the SPAM problem, they came up with their own solution that rides on the backbone of another technology (SPF) that was provided free to all for the good of all. Then they patented their version in a manner that blocked a significant portion of the worlds biggest MTA’s from adopting it and that ended up disbanding the coalition with nothing useful decided upon as a result. Now Microsoft are trying to use their vast number of Hotmail and MSN users to force ISP’s and other mail server providers to adopt their technology. The ironic thing is that when they find themselves in court for anti-competitive behaviour, they honestly don’t seem to understand why they are getting targeted all the time, and while all this goes on, their PR people are busy telling the gullible how wonderfully interoperable all their products are.

My advice? get a free Gmail or Yahoo email account, they both offer more space and features then the free MSN/Hotmail anyway and you actually stand a good chance of seeing all your E-mail. See CNET for the full scoop.

Update: Apparently I’m not the only one to view Microsoft’s move with disdain. Speaking of alternatives, TheInquirer has done a small review of AOL’s new free webmail service and given it surprisingly good marks. Apparently they offer 2GIG just like Gmail, but also offer IMAP as a connection option, meaning you can use any IMAP capable E-mail client (like Thunderbird) to access your mail. They did say that AOL’s offering doesn’t have the same search ability as Gmail, but if you are using Thunderbird as your client, then you have Thunderbirds search facilities at your fingertips which is very powerful with tools like Virtual search folders (a folder that doesn’t really exist but contains all the results of a particular search term (or multiple terms). IMAP is a huge improvement over POP3 because the mail stays on the server. With POP3, when you download your mail from one location, it is no longer available to download from another. IMAP looks and works the same as POP3 from a users perspective, except that you can access all your mail from any location and until you delete it, all your old mail is accessable to all of them. I’ve bene a big convert of IMAP’s features for some time now.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   January 19, 2019, 7:51 pm
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