News Brief

MSN Upgrades Hotmail

Microsoft Corp.'s MSN on Thursday said it upgraded its free Hotmail email service to offer 250MB of free storage, 10MB attachments and free virus scanning/cleaning. The service offers calendar and calendar sharing functions and a 30-day account expiration. MSN is competing against recent service upgrades from Yahoo! and Google's fledgling G-mail service. MSN is also offering Upgraded Hotmail Extra Storage/Hotmail Plus for $19.95 per year. The package offers users 2GB of storage and the ability to keep 20MB attachments. It also enables users to eliminate graphical ads, includes client access through Outlook and yearly account expiration. MSN says the Extra Storage product matches Yahoo!'s offering but trumps the rival on attachment size. MSN plans to offer a phased rollout, first offering Hotmail users globally free virus cleaning by early July. Hotmail Extra Storage users will be migrated to Hotmail Plus in late July. Free Hotmail users in the U.S., UK and Japan will be offered the ability to upgrade to the new 250MB Hotmail free offer. In November, MSN will begin upgrading the 7 million MSN Premium users, and approximately 80 million free Hotmail users in the U.S., UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Spain markets on a rolling basis.