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Difference Between Hotmail and Live

emailHotmail vs Live

Hotmail is the most commonly referred name of what is actually Windows Live Hotmail. It is a free e-mail service by Microsoft, and a part of Windows Live cluster. Formerly, it was known as MSN Hotmail, as the preceding Hotmail version. It should be mentioned that the transition from MSN to Windows Live Hotmail was very gradual. In fact, the two kinds of hotmail were available simultaneously for awhile.

Hotmail service symbolizes ‘freedom’, which actually concurred with the date of its commercial launching on American Independence day of 1996. The so-called freedom was in reference to people’s independency to ISP based email services. Hotmail is designed to be accessed on the web, by using just a web browser. User inboxes could be accessed anywhere, and anytime.

The original letter casing of Hotmail is ‘HoTMaiL’, to indicate the basic coding of all web pages, which is HTML. It became so popular on the outset, that by December 1997, it was reported to have over 8.5 million subscribers.

Eventually, Hotmail was bought by Microsoft for $400 million. It became a part of the company’s MSN group of services, and the popularity of the web-based email had even soared to enormous proportions, as it became the largest web-based email service in the world. In February 1999, it was reported to have more than thirty million members.

Live, as in Windows Live, is a collective name for a group of services and applications of Microsoft. Most of the Windows Live services are web-based applications, which are accessible from various kinds of web browsers. There are some applications that may need installation as well. Windows Live is offered in three kinds of services: Mobile, web, and Windows Live Essentials applications.

Many of the Windows Live products and services were considered as ‘rebrands’, or enhanced versions of MSN products and services. Although MSN is still available in tandem with Windows Live, both are different from each other, although, some of the same products may appear as part of each package.

In actuality, ‘Live’ is a branding used by Microsoft in many of its products besides Windows Live and its set of services. Other services and products labeled by Microsoft as ‘Live’, includes Xbox Live, Microsoft Office Live, and Games for Windows – LIVE.


1. Hotmail is a specific web-based email service, while Live is a brand name of a group of products by Microsoft.

2. Hotmail is actually a part of Windows Live services.

3. Live is, apparently, a recent branding campaign by Microsoft, while Hotmail is a service that was acquired by Microsoft in the 90’s.

4. Hotmail was, at first, a part of MSN’s bundle of services. Now, as part of Windows Live, it is called Windows Live Hotmail.

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  1. This is the exact information I was looking for. Now I am clear on the differences between these two. I was in dilemma while I was signing up for mailing address.

  2. I really enjoy the blog.Really thank you! Fantastic.

  3. Now this is a straight answer and I appreciate it. This is my first experience with “Diff Between”, but will certainly consult your site more often as I always have questions. I am currently a user of these products; MSN, hotmail, windows, messenger, windows live mail. I was totally confused. Thanks folks.

  4. Is Hotmail a email for chatting? Or is it a gateway for windows live for football fantasy? If anyone can answer me i will gratefully appreciated. Thanks in advance

  5. How do I get my hotmail emails. I have a client sent me my paper work by scaning to my hotmail.com. I haven’t received them. Don’t know where to go to get them. My hotmail email is rach2short@hotmail.com. password for hotmail address does not exsist per your system. Why? It shows my old email.

  6. Wonderful to get such a clear and concise explanation of any computer-related question. I wish all answers were as clear as this one.

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