In 1988, Vinton Cerf arranged for the connection of MCI Mail to the NSFNET through the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), providing the first sanctioned commercial use of the Internet. Shortly thereafter, in 1989, the Compuserve mail system also connected to the NSFNET, through the Ohio State University network. In 1993, the large network service providers America Online (AOL) and Delphi started to connect their proprietary email systems to the Internet, beginning the large scale adoption of Internet email as a global standard. Microsoft's History with the Internet and Email The Windows and OS/2 email client software were built around an early version of MAPI called MAPI 0, and could in theory enable that client to talk to any mail server by replacing the MAPI DLL with a fully compliant DLL for the appropriate system. Unlike the Microsoft Mail 3.x server product released in 1992, the MAPI clients could also support Bcc: functionality. This functionality was not exposed to Microsoft Mail for PC Networks users due to limitations in the server architecture, but the corporate internal MAPI.DLL enabling these particular clients to talk to Xenix-based mail transport systems utilised this functionality. The first and almost immediately recalled version of the Microsoft Press book on using Microsoft Mail accidentally used screenshots from the Xenix backend, revealing this concealed capability of the client. Gateways Connections to other email systems were made possible by gateways to "foreign mail systems". Microsoft shipped gateways to PROFS and SNADS as employed on IBM's Office Vision, SMTP as used on the Internet, X.400 over X.25 set up by the
ITU-Tin Geneva, Novell's Message Handling System (MHS), MCI Mail, AT&T Mail, and others. Many companies running these gateways quickly replaced them with Microsoft Exchange Server connectors once Microsoft Exchange 4.0shipped in March 1996.
In particular an early part of a migration from Microsoft Mail to Exchange included replacing the Microsoft Mail for PC Networks Gateway to SMTP to the Microsoft Exchange Internet Mail Connector, which was later renamed to the Microsoft Exchange Internet Mail Service. The original Windows 95 "Inbox" client used MAPI and was also called "Microsoft Exchange". A stripped-down version of the Exchange Client (having no support for Exchange Server) was released as Windows Messaging to avoid confusion and was then included with Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4. It was then discontinued because of Microsoft's move to email standards such as SMTP, IMAP, and POP3, all of which Outlook Express supported better than Windows Messaging. Microsoft Internet Mail and News later renamed to Outlook Express Version 1.0 was released in 1996 following the Internet Explorer 3 release. This add-on preceded the Internet Mail profile for Microsoft Exchange 4.0 that was bundled in Windows 95. Version 2.0 was released at the end of 1996. Internet Mail and News handled only plain text and rich text (RTF) email, lacking HTML email. Microsoft Exchange Server up to version 5.0 (May 97) came bundled with Microsoft Exchange Client as the email client. Note, when Microsoft Outlook 97 was released in January 97, Exchange Client 5.0 was still in development. It was released later in May 97 as part of Exchange Server 5.0, primarily because Outlook 97 was only available for Windows. Later in Exchange Server 5.5 (released in Nov 97) Exchange Client was removed and Microsoft Outlook was made the only Exchange client as it was now available for other platforms such as Apple. In October 1997 the desktop application was changed and renamed as Outlook Express and bundled with Internet Explorer 4. The Windows executable file for Outlook Express, msimn.exe MS Internet Mail News, is a holdover from that Internet Mail and News era. Like Internet Explorer 4, Outlook Express 4 can run on Apple Mac System 7, OS 8, and OS 9. Netscape At the same time, Netscape released Netscape Communicator in 1997 with its email client, renamed as Netscape Messenger. Launch of Hotmail Hotmail service was founded by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, and was one of the first webmail services on the Internet along with Four11's RocketMail (later Yahoo! Mail). Hotmail was commercially launched on July 4, 1996, symbolizing "freedom" from ISP-based email and the ability to access a user's inbox from anywhere in the world. The limit for free storage was 2 MB. Hotmail was initially backed by venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. By December 1997, it reported more than 8½ million subscribers. Hotmail initially ran under the Solaris operating system for mail services and Apache web server software under FreeBSD Unix for web services, before being partly converted to Microsoft's products, using Windows Services for UNIX in the migration path. Hotmail was then sold to Microsoft in December 1997 for a reported $400 million, and it joined the MSN group of services. Hotmail quickly rose in popularity as it was localized for different markets around the globe, and became the world's largest webmail service with more than 30 million active members, reported in February 1999. As mentioned before, Hotmail as a service ran on a mixture of FreeBSD and Solaris operating systems Other Developments Yahoo Mail was launched in 1997 as a webmail client, an alternative to Hotmail Apple Mail was launched in 2001 as part of Mac OS X, an email client that was a free alternative to running Microsoft Office (Outlook and Outlook Express) on the Apple Mac. Mozilla Thunderbird was launched in 2004, a free and open-source email client that ran on the desktop. Gmail was launched in 2004, a webmail client, another alternative to Hotmail and Yahoo. Lastly, a comment about Australia and sending email back in 1990. An alternative to SMTP for sending email, as mentioned earlier, was x.400 that was developed in the 1980s in Geneva by the
ITU-T. It was employed by Microsoft initially. In Australia in 1990, we saw two interim Internet domains otc.au and telememo.au set up to support an email gateway to the X.400 mail service provided by what was then OTC (Overseas Telecommunications Commission).
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