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.

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