Hotmail Fails To Deliver Up To 81% Of All Attachment Emails
If Intent Can Be Proven, Microsoft Could Face Millions Of Mail Fraud Charges
Microsoft's market capitalization is approximately $300 billion dollars. Let's put that into a bit of perspective. That's enough money to feed and provide medical care for every single AIDS orphan in Africa for 227 years. To put it another way, it's a pile of stacked $100 bills 10 feet wide, 24 feet deep and 38 stories high.
You would think that someone in Redmond, Washington could take time out from counting all that money to actually do something to earn it? Like maybe fix the ridiculously obvious and painful bugs that have been haunting Microsoft users not since the launch of Vista, not since the launch of XP, not since the launch of Win 2000, not since the launch of ME, but since before the launch of Windows 98?
Haha, you say! What bug could possibly have survived Microsoft's insecticide for so long? Since Microsoft took over Hotmail in January 1998, almost a full decade ago, Hotmail users have decried the loss of attachment emails. For the uninitiated, here's how it works.
Whether you are:
- Sending from a Hotmail account to another Hotmail or any other email address
- Receiving from another Hotmail account or any other email address to your Hotmail account
...you will lose many of your attachments. The emails simply vanish in transit. No mailer daemon, no bounces, no nothing. Gone like Bill Gates' sex appeal.
Microsoft has forever denied this. Hotmail's delivery statistics are next to perfect and there is no discrimination against attachments, they've said for almost a decade. And for almost a decade they have been making millions of Gigabytes of documents, spreadsheets and photos of grandma's quilts disappear.
On the heels of my controversial Mac Plus Beats AMD Dual Core Test which raised quite a ruckus around the Internet, I figured it was time to drag Hotmail kicking and screaming into the secret laboratory and concoct a perfectly fair test that it was up to Hotmail to succeed at or fail.
I created one hundred emails. Each one had a different attachment. They were all .txt, .rtf, .doc, .jpg, .xls, or .ppt and of random sizes, the smallest being a 6K .txt and the largest a 1.9MB .ppt.
These one hundred emails were split up into five groups of twenty each.
Two different Hotmail accounts were used, let's call them Hotmail-1 and Hotmail-2.
Two different "generic" ISPs email accounts were used in different locations on different servers, again, ISP-1 and ISP-2. To make it perfectly fair, ISP-1 was a Canadian provider in Ontario and ISP-2 an American provider in California.
To allow for different traffic patterns, these times were chosen for the testing, all times Eastern.
9 am Thursday
3 pm Saturday
6 pm Sunday
9 pm Monday
Five different originating computers were used, one for each day. Each PC was linked to the net via a different ISP, so five different ISPs were used in total to send and receive the files.
Each day, I would log onto Hotmail-1 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to Hotmail-2, ISP-1 and ISP-2. Then I would log onto Hotmail-2 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to Hotmail-1, ISP-1 and ISP-2. Then I would log onto ISP-1 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to ISP-2, Hotmail-1 and Hotmail-2. And finally I would log onto ISP-2 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to ISP-1, Hotmail-1 and Hotmail-2. Only the relevant web interfaces were used, no email clients as Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.
This schedule was determined to make it as fair as possible. There is no way that the delivery or lack thereof was caused by a particular ISP, as we used five completely independent ones from five locations. Neither could it be said that we only sent during peak times as we spread out our sends across five days and at various times of the day. Each email was sent separately, no ccs or bccs. The test was devised to be as unbiased as possible. Either the emails would be delivered or they wouldn't.
Each email was given 48 hours for delivery. If it was not delivered in that time then it was considered Vanished. Interestingly only one email fell into this group, being delivered after 72 hours from Hotmail-2 to ISP-1.
The final results bore out the "conventional wisdom." If emails were donuts, Hotmail would be HomerSimpsonMail. I don't need to reiterate the figures, there they are in blue and red. But for a Hotmail account to destroy up to 81% of all emails with attachments prior to their delivery to a "generic" ISP email account is nothing short of absurd, as these Hotmail accounts were not the free variety, but the fully paid ones. Compare those figures to the ones where the generic ISP email accounts exchanged emails with attachments and you will clearly see the difference. The worst performance was in making 2% Vanish.
It has long been suspected that there is a silent policy that makes Hotmail automatically delete the majority of attachments to save on bandwidth and internal disk space. Therefore it really doesn't matter if every client has access to 2GB of storage since they don't deliver the attachments to fill that space up anyway. If that truly is the case, then Microsoft may be liable for several hundred million cases of conspiracy and mail fraud.
Hotmail is no longer a free only service where you get what you pay for. There is simply no excuse for ripping off users who have paid a significant fee to obtain the reliability and confidence which the Microsoft brand should deliver. Either that, or it may be time to ask the DOJ to step in and investigate what could be a multi-billion dollar scam.