Hotmail aims to cut spam off at the pass

MSN Hotmail users may see a decrease in spam clogging up their inboxes in coming weeks, Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday, as it announced a deal with Brightmail Inc. to incorporate the company's spam-filter technology in its free e-mail service.

Microsoft said that it will deploy Brightmail's Solution Suite to filter spam at the incoming SMTP gateway, before its delivered to Hotmail users' inboxes.

The spam guard will be fully deployed later this year, Microsoft said, to serve Hotmail's 110 million worldwide users.

The Redmond, Washington, company's spam-stymying move is nothing new for free e-mail services, many of which have already adopted spam-fighting measures. Yahoo Inc., for example, routes unsolicited e-mail to a bulk e-mail folder in users' inboxes.

The Brightmail solution works by leveraging a collection of more than 200 million e-mail addresses designed to attract spam, allowing Brightmail to identify and eliminate spam before it reaches users' inboxes. San Francisco-based Brightmail claims to have a significant foothold on the antispam market, boasting clients such as Earthlink Inc., AT&T WorldNet and now MSN.

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