No sooner does Google try charging people for 6 gigabyte Gmail accounts, that Hotmail rolls out 5 gigabyte accounts of its own. Now once upon a time when UNIX dinosaurs roamed computer labs and the internet was bright shiny and new and everyone had a webpage on Geocities with an address of something like www.geocities.comLunarParkDimensionX5562/, I had my own Hotmail account too and it was cool. And then Microsoft took it over and as Microsoft doeth to anything cool, Microsoft killed the cool.
Hotmail became slow and unwieldy. Its security became notoriously unreliable. Microsoft shoved it together into its Passport system so you had to sign up for Passport to use the free email. Pretty soon Hotmail was too much bother to bother with.
Now obviously the 5 gigabytes being dangled in front of my nose isn’t gonna change my general antipathy to Microsoft online services, especially considering Yahoo Mail gives me as much space as I want, thus decisively winning the email space wars for good.
Google meanwhile seems to be opting out by concentrating on monetizing their existing Gmail base by offering paid services, rather than really making changes to the service. But then Gmail has become the focal point for Google’s web services integrating Google Talk for example and Google’s office apps.