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Omar Shahine - Inside Hotmail

25 minutes, 9 seconds


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Hotmail. It's a service that's often overlooked at Microsoft. But hundreds of millions of people use Hotmail every month. Billions of email messages flow through its datacenters every day.

Anyway, we went down to Silicon Valley to meet with Omar Shahine. Hey, it was an excuse to see the sunny weather down in California. He's the lead program manager on the Hotmail front door team. In other words, every email on Hotmail goes through a system his team designed.

Omar, who has a blog here, takes us through Hotmail's architecture and more.

What would you like to know about Hotmail? It's probably covered here by Omar.

At the end of the video he also shows off a couple of fun devices he uses.


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  • Kevin DalyKevin Daly Because.

    Sadly, most of the mail I get via Hotmail is still from people trying to make money out of insecurities I don't have.


    Or lately, pretending to be trying to deliver free gifts.

    It's like the Reader's Digest has started selling Viagra...

  • leighswordleighsword LeighSword
    why the hotmail does not support the pop3?is it a tech problem to you?or an architecture problem?
  • Nice to know an idea about what kind of processes going on in the background for a service like Hotmail. Good job C9 to highlight the work going on at Hotmail.

    Omar, in any of those background services is there a filter to send all emails from Gmail to the junk folder Wink


  • PerfectPhasePerfectPhase "This is not war, this is pest control!" - Dalek to Cyberman
    leighsword wrote:
    why the hotmail does not support the pop3?is it a tech problem to you?or an architecture problem?

    I stummbled on this the other day, not tried it yet but could be useful if you want to use pop3.


  • sriram_2001sriram_2001 Sriram Krishnan
    When is Hotmail going to finish upgrading *all* accounts to 250MB? I find less and less reason to log in to my 2MB inbox and if it weren't for Passport, I would have dumped it long back. I'm sorry to be rude - but it isn't funny when Yahoo gives me over 100 and GMail gives me 1GB.

    I'm not able to view the video - so apologies if this has been answered in the video.
  • leighsword wrote:
    why the hotmail does not support the pop3?is it a tech problem to you?or an architecture problem?

    I seem to recall Hotmail stopped supporting Pop3 several years ago now, only supporting their http protocol for access via Outlook (and a few other clients). Now it appears that they may be removing that access for their new Outlook Live subscribtion service. The arguement being that such advanced services should be paid for and that similar services have the same policy.

    Shame really especially as gmail has just started providing pop3 and RSS support. I really like Hotmail for all it's faults but losing standard outlook integration may just kill it for me. Last time I was burned by hotmail was with the calender. I used to use it all the time then it went to being a paid for service so I lost all the personal data I had in it - now it's free again but there's almost zero chance I'll trust that with my data again.

    Now I find that I may no longer be able to archive important emails via outlook (which costs a fair bit in itself) with the potential to lose valuable data agian.

    Still can't complain too much, especially now we have 250mb storage and they've got rid of those damn screwy framed hyperlinks in my mails (whoever thought that was a good idea).
  • Hotmail needs innovation and needs it fast. You know like the innovation or at least the great energy that Microsoft puts into MSN Search. I know, I know, MSN Search is new and needs customers while Hotmail already has many customers and might perhaps not mind losing some. Yes?
    Whilst other services add new revolutionary features, the most known example of which is Gmail, Hotmail remains the same old service. Where is a new look, a faster response time, fewer clutter, especially ads, better search and organization facilities, pop3 & imap forwarding (like the out of office assistant), calendar and mail offline backup, rss feeds, Hotmail integration with the desktop or deskbar and with other MSN services, etc, etc. If Microsoft has made one of the best e-mail clients Office Outlook, why not make Hotmail a little as feature rich as this client. At least a little. Hotmail has too many customers and Microsoft is losing them to Gmail. Many of my friend have or think of switching. Why not at least try to upgrate some of Hotmail's offerings, re-energize the Hotmail brand. At least at a minimum? Even the 250 MB is ooooo slow in coming. Yahoo! had upgrated their service much faster. Currently, Google not Hotmail is the cool service.
    You need to introduce some new and advanced features and do it now not next next year. Users in this age rely a lot on e-mail. Given that Hotmail is the most popular free service, in order to remain so, needs to work on a new version.
    Perhaps MSN should add the ability for online file storage. Like Yahoo briefcase but 250 mb. Why not. After all, this is what people really want, not very large inboxes, but a common large online storage place, easily accessible, like from My Network Places. And remember 2 or even 10 or 30 mb nowadays is a joke.
  • Andre Da CostaAndre Da Costa Created with PhotoDraw 2000 V2
    Its probably because you are posting your e-mail address somewhere public. I notice when I use my hotmail e-mail address in public newsgroups, I get a tonne of junk mail next morning in my inbox.
  • leighswordleighsword LeighSword
    another question about MSN Explorer9.0, when the Verizon Service will avaliable in China?you know, China Telecom hold the market.
  • leighswordleighsword LeighSword
    i knew why the hotmail doesn't supporting Pop3, because of MONEY, they want us to buy the MSN Explorer 9.0.
    as i know, Outlook also needs Hotmail plugs .
  • moofishmoofish Living in Scotland, UK
    I liked that informal talk at the end about what an MS worker opts for, I rip in WMA vbr and wont start to rip in lossless until BlueRay drives come out, I just do not have the space.

    I was intrigued that MS employees have lots of software available to them, although custom made and non-supported it would be good to try it out too for myself. I do not and probably never will work for MS, and so how about a section on Channel 9 that aggregates at least the released software from MS employees personal sites.

    Channel 9 is all about an insight into Microsoft, how it works, what it’s up to and where it’s going. I see a software section as a natural evolution of this showing not necessarily official beta MS software but employee’s personal software.

    To get everything in one place would be great, I can’t remember all the employee links. If it works who knows it will probably lead to product improvements.

  • leighsword wrote:
    i knew why the hotmail doesn't supporting Pop3, because of MONEY, they want us to buy the MSN Explorer 9.0.
    as i know, Outlook also needs Hotmail plugs .

    Why be happy with no POP3 or a small inbox, just sign up for google mail it's leagues better than hotmail.

    I have a free invites if anybody wants any, send me a note.
  • So that's what Omar looks like.   Thanks for your help a while back.  Two billion pieces of mail for 200 million users a day. That's large scale mail. Wow.

  • Can you give us a roadmap, at least a rough one, on when storage updates will take place and in what parts of the world? When are the upgrates going to finish?

    Can you also tell us if you are generally satisfied with the  Hotmail service as it is today and if you can tell us of any planed additions or improvements. Are users happy with the current look and feel? What is the top issues that you are asked to fix?
  • erikerik_ Whooops!

    Great video.

    This video gave me a new thing to think about, I want to know how this header/message stuff works. How do keep the header and filename together, do you save the message as xml file or just as binary, etc.

    Because if u get billions of messenges a day how do you save that as a file? number.msg would not work since u run out of numbers fast if u get billions of email messenges a day. Is there some kind of book that describes this technique or is there a term where i can google on? Anyone with some hints?

    Thanks in Advance

  • You don't like mp3's cause you say they don't sound good?  I'm confused.  Wasn't there a big huff about mp3's because they are "near" cd quality. 

    I'm sorry, i don't like wma.  I find the format bulky, and everytime i rip music, windows media player asks if i'm sure i don't want to go back to wma instead of mp3.  I don't like wma.

    Also, the majority of stuff ripped from an mp3 is stuff beyond the human audiable range.  If you're upset about that, maybe you're being a little too picky.

    I do like the digital right managment with wma, but it would be nice if Windows Media Player could make an mp3 from a wav file or save the audio from a video file to mp3 or wma.  I can only make mp3s and wma from a CD, that totally anonys me!

  • sriram_2001sriram_2001 Sriram Krishnan
    Sorry for the late response. I'm from India and that's what my account settings reflect

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