RealTime IT News

Sun Scraps MySun E-mail Service

Sun Microsystems plans to pull the plug on its free MySun e-mail service on March 24, 2003, claiming it can no longer support such a service.

Sun sent a note to existing subscribers, warning that the service will be shut down this year. "We are notifying you of this change now in order to give you enough time to identify an alternative email solution and move your messages to a new provider," according to the e-mail notice.

It is not clear if the MySun Web portal, which acts as a conduit for customized content and a place to pitch Sun's specialty services, will remain in operation.

Officials at Sun could not be reached at press time to discuss the decision.

The news comes amidst a general trend to do away with free e-mail offerings and institute paid-subscription plans. Popular free e-mail providers like Microsoft's Hotmail and Yahoo's have added paid features alongside a stripped-down alternative for freeloaders.

Last June, Hotmail turned off POP3 e-mail retrieval from its free service as part of an aggressive push to sell MSN Extra Storage e-mail services.

To continue using the POP3 feature, Microsoft demanded users pony up $19.95 a year to access premium e-mail services. While basic Hotmail accounts remain free, premium subscribers get 10 MB of Hotmail storage, which is about five times what those who don't pay get. It would also allow Hotmail users to send and receive larger attachmentsup to 1.5 MB per messageand up to 30 MB of MSN Communities storage, used primarily to store images on MSN's servers.

Like Microsoft, Yahoo also scrapped free POP3 retrieval and implemented a plan to charge for e-mail add-on services.

Interestingly, the MySun Web portal was launched around the same time Microsoft acquired the Hotmail service and was used primarily to push Sun's products and service updates. Subscribers to the free e-mail service were offered access to Sun's product and service updates, early access to Sun product promotions and events notifications.