Today I opened my Hotmail account and found that I now have an expanded 250 megabytes of storage space! This, of course, is Microsoft's long anticipated response to the introduction of Google's Gmail service last spring which boasts 1 gigabyte of storage and Yahoo's subsequent expansion to 100 MB (now 250MB). Larger account sizes make it easier for users to share all kinds of data (photos, documents, etc.) and allow users to store files online in their accounts.
The interesting thing about the dynamic and consumer friendly email market is that it is a sector of the communications industry that has matured and advanced with minimal regulatory oversight. Email carriers operate in an unregulated market and this morning my inbox benefited from the competitive forces that this environment engenders.
The email storage wars demonstrate that the communications industry will remain dynamic because of advances in network capacity and compression techniques, not distortionary taxes and regulations. With millions of users worldwide, free email accounts have become the ultimate 'universal service.'
FYI: If you are still waiting for your own 250MB upgrade from Hotmail, a Microsoft spokesperson explained that they "expect to have completed the roll out in the US by the end of the calendar year."