Hotmail, originally spelt HoTMaiL, the first web-based emailing service was launched on 4 July 1996. Founded by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia, Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft in December 1997 for 400 million US dollars, which was a huge sum at the time.
Today, almost nobody uses Hotmail, and the rare users who have not abandoned it only stick to it for nostalgia because it was their first electronic mailing system. It was integrated into Microsoft Office, which is now mostly used in offices only.
But why did Hotmail die?
Because of a great cultural shift.
Hotmail, Yahoo!, a rediff, etc. signified everything we needed to abandon in order to change our electronic mailing habits. We stopped forwarding jokes, long emotional poems, animated greeting cards, etc. And we learnt not to send spams.
All this happened because all of the sudden email became sacred – it officially moved into offices, it was accepted by the market, and schools also began to use it. In the meantime we realised that it was impossible to find an email from the boss among all the forwarded email messages.
This change meant the end for Hotmail. First we associated non-seriousness with it, then came Gmail with huge storage capacity and all other benefits. No area was left where Hotmail would have proved more useful.
Then social media appeared on the scene and emailing was completely transformed.