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January 10, 2023updated 30 Jan 2023 12:51pm

What is Hotmail?

By Tech Monitor

Launched in 1996 by founders Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith in California, Hotmail was an early adopter of web browser-based email services. Due to being one of the first of its kind with new levels of ease and accessibility, the site quickly gained widespread popularity throughout the late nineties and early 2000s.

Hotmail
Image: Shutterstock

Does Hotmail still exist?

In a sense Hotmail still exists, but not in the original form that many of us remember. Microsoft purchased the service in 1997 and rebranded it as Windows Live Hotmail. That state of affairs continued until Hotmail took a backseat to Microsoft’s Outlook email service. New signups and existing accounts were still accessible via Hotmail until 2013 when the service migrated to Outlook entirely. Previously created Hotmail accounts are however still active and can be accessed via Outlook.com.

When the migration to Outlook occurred, there were more than 300 million accounts.

Who owns Hotmail?

Hotmail was originally owned by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, but Microsoft purchased it in 1997. Until its dissolution into Outlook, it was part of the roster of Microsoft products.

The ‘eh’ password incident

In 1999, Hotmail suffered what was at the time called “the most widespread security incident in the history of the web” when a vulnerability was discovered that allowed anyone to log into any account with the password “eh”.
The hacker group Hackers Unite publicised the vulnerability to the Swedish media in an effort to highlight what they claimed were Microsoft’s inadequate security precautions. However, the company denied that the vulnerability was the result of an oversight.

The author generated this text in part with GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.

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