Rumour: Microsoft readying free POP3 access for Hotmail

Microsoft currently offers POP3 access for $19.95 per year as part of its Hotmail Plus service. Rumours posted on several Windows Live forums this week and Ars could indicate that POP3 access is about to drop for all hotmail users at no additional cost.

Microsoft is expected to make some Windows Live announcements at CES. There are rumours of the final versions of the Windows Live Client wave 3 applications being released and it's possible that free POP3 access is one of the announcements.

Forum poster "cebcubs" posted a question to the Windows Live Help forums on December 31st 2008 asking "I read online that a few of the features of Hotmail Plus (namely, POP3 feature) will be available in early 2009. Does anyone know for sure if this statement is true?". A Microsoft spokesperson identified as "Windows Live Israel" confirms the rumour and states "Yes, cebcubs, there is a plan on releasing POP3 to free Hotmail account users. However, we still do not have a definite date on when this will happen. We'll keep everyone posted once the feature becomes available."

The Consumer Electronics Show is a perfect launching surface for such a service and POP3 access for Hotmail has become a much requested feature of Microsoft's popular web mail service.

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correction for your post..
that microsoft spokesperson's name is not "Windows Live Israel" but "Windows Live Isabel M"

I'd say its a step up, we don't have IMAP as yet, but atleast now we have POP3! Allowing me to use Hotmail with Outlook.

One more thing I'd like, get rid of the ads at the bottom of every mail sent via Hotmail! I mean come on!

Live mail tries to download each and single mail onto my computer, I've had this account well over 7 years now. It's insane to try and download 3000 mails/1.2 GB over a 512kbps connection.

sibot said,
Live mail tries to download each and single mail onto my computer, I've had this account well over 7 years now. It's insane to try and download 3000 mails/1.2 GB over a 512kbps connection.

Yea, would love to know how to prevent all my (thousands) mails (few GB) @ Hotmail being downloaded to my Windows Live Mail!

Hope Yahoo does it too. For years now I have been using the WebMail add-on for Thunderbird to get POP3 access to Hotmail and Yahoo Mail.

Had their equivalent of IMAP running for years now :P

I remember when they said that new users could no longer start using it, but they wouldn't stop current users access... it's via HTTP in Outlook, so it essentially works like IMAP. Never use it however :P

There is really no way that they can tout how great windows live is if you can't even check your email(the one ms wants you to use) from Mail live lmfao.

I personally haven't used hotmail since i was a teenie bopper.

Not really a rumor... they've already said that POP access is coming for all, for free. The only thing that's still up in the air is the date.

This would make the inclusion of the Outlook Connector in Windows Live Essentials rather pointless...

Cuppa said,
This would make the inclusion of the Outlook Connector in Windows Live Essentials rather pointless...

not really. although the outlook connector can only be used in outlook, it gives way better functionality than pop3 access would... it gives you an imap type of access..

This is a good move, albeit a very overdue one. If we can access our Hotmail from within Windows Live Mail, then everyone else should with their client of choice. So yes, I can agree: It's about goddamn time.

So... about 100 years after every man and his dog has done it ?

Good news but sadly i moved from "Hotmail" (WLM) a long time ago

Hotdog963al, Yahoo charge for IMAP i think but do free POP3

hotdog963al said,
You have to pay for Pop3 currently?! That's hilarious!! Gmail has IMAP for free, does Yahoo as well?

Last I checked, Yahoo charged about $20 per year for POP3 access to e-mail. They dropped free POP3 access around the same time that Microsoft did. Maybe this will encourage them to bring it back.

Prince17 you can use Hotmail with your Iphone if you get the app M-Box, I have it for my ipod touch and it works perfect, it's written in the correct protocols and works 100%

As for POP3 access I also wonder why bother, just get IMAP sorted out.

Microsoft hates IMAP. They always have terrible implementations of IMAP in their clients. My only guess is they don't want it to compete with Exchange. Outlook should be able to store calender/contacts/tasks ect on an IMAP server too but no, they restrict IMAP to just messages. They also refuse to let deleted messages get moved to Deleted Items in Outlook. You have to do the whole mark as deleted and the do an EXPUNGE. This has to be intentional.

IMAP is always an after thought for some reason. It seams to be picking up popularity now though. Google and Yahoo probably helped. It would be nice if all mobile clients would start supporting IMAP IDLE too. The iPhone doesn't and WM doesn't. We know why MS wouldn't support IDLE. They wouldn't want people to get push mail on their WM phone out off the box without Exchange ActiveSync you know.

chorpeac said,
Amen, +2

I love my pop3 Gmail access. Then I can have a backup of all my emails on "My Computer" and on "Their server".

Exactly. My main email account is with AIM, which is free and has IMAP - I've also been impressed by not receiving any spam. I connect using Outlook and can arrange all my email into folders. Hotmail is irrelevant and has been for a long time.

Edit: Wow, I typed out a long drawn out message about the differences between IMAP and POP and why IMAP is superior. But Neowin ate my message and I can't get back to it :(. Well, Wikipedia POP and IMAP if you are interested in learning more, lol.

POP3 allows you to download your mail into another program or service such as Outlook, Thunderbird, or even Gmail.

Since Hotmail currently can't do this, you also can't transfer your mail to your smartphone or embedded client easily. This is probably the main motivator: all those iPhone and Blackberry users frustrated in having to surf to to read their email.

Gmail is still ahead by supporting the more bandwidth friendly / sync friendly but more technically complex IMAP.

I thought they stopped POP3 access when SPAM was on the rise and Hotmail was one of Spammers email services of choice? Anyone remember if that was the case?

Outlook Connector works fine for me, unless POP3 access means that I can sync my local PST based calendar and contacts with what is found on Hotmail Live. If that is the case, then I'm interested. I'm not interested in seeing my local contact and Live contacts side by side, nor am I interested in seeing my local calendar and Live calendar side by side... Sync like the old MSN IntelliSync is what I'm hoping for.

MS did it several years ago, then later they dropped the pop3 support for free account and now they are allowing pop3 for free acount. so, is it a permanent change or it is just a way to lure new user?.