Microsoft Corp has announced that it has acquired the free e-mail service Hotmail, which it plans to fold into its Internet offerings by making it a "component" of The Microsoft Network (MSN) that will let users check their MSN mail from a Hotmail account.
"Our goal is to combine the benefits of Hotmail with Microsoft services and technology to provide consumers the best combination of free and premium e-mail services," Laura Jennings, MSN's vice president, said in a statement.
Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Hotmail has more than 9 million subscribers, company officials said. Users can access e-mail over the Internet from any computer with a Hotmail account. No financial information was released about the deal, which will see Hotmail operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft.
"We're very proud of the business we've built and are gratified by consumer acceptance of our service and our technology," Sabeer Bhatia, Hotmail's president, chief executive officer, and co-founder, said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Microsoft on ways we can expand free e-mail services on the Web and bring new features to consumers even more quickly."