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It's free! You should not expect anything from a free service - There is, however, a certain expectation that goes along with providing free service. MSN is trying to build a name and they are touting themselves as safe, easy, comfortable. These actions don't help that perception at all.
And people are paying - service is not by any means free, any more than network television is free. Users have to view advertisements in both email and on web site, and those ads are paid for.
The charges are simply indirect.
This just proves you cannot trust Microsoft - it's not just Microsoft. Other large companies (Yahoo comes to mind right away) institute changes with little or no notice and no feelings for their users at all.
I find it interesting that companies can make changes like this at will - imagine if post office decided to burn all of mail that sat in PO boxes for more than a month?
It's up to us as consumers to leave services that act like this, and to make reasons why we leave known. It is not acceptable for companies to treat their users, who depend upon their services (regardless of price), as commodities. Users and customers are people who deserve respect.
Individuals who leave cannot make an impact, so why bother - It does not matter what impact is upon company or corporation you are leaving. If company does not provide decent service, free or not, and treats you (the customer) as a commodity instead of as a human being, then you should leave and find a company that is better suited. This is way to change a corporation.
People should not use free services. Paid services would never do this to their customers - Unfortunately, pay email services make same kind of decisions (or simply fold upon occasion). My experience is you just have be prepared.
Companies such as Hotmail clearly state this kind of thing in their terms and conditions - The problem is that it has because normal and accepted for companies to be able to have a line in their terms and conditions stating "we can change these terms at any time without notice". Imagine if that clause was in your home mortgage or car loan or whatever! The mortgage company could change terms of loan without notice, or could decide it wanted a parking lot on your property and you wouldn't know until bulldozers showed up!
That's thing that needs to be changed. Terms and conditions should not be modifiable from second they are agreed to without permission (not notice, permission).
People should back up their email so it is not a disaster when this kind of thing happens - One of real issues here is hotmail and msn are touting themselves are easy, comfortable, something even a child or a completely computer illiterate can use. Thus, concept from MSN's advertising and promotional materials is you don't need to back up, you don't need to worry, and so on. Now, people "in know" or who have experience know better. But I cannot blame someone for trusting ... shame on corporation for uncaringly breaking that trust and treating individuals as commodities, no more valuable than any other raw material.
What can we do? We are helpless to large corporations - Has anyone heard words "class action lawsuit"?
On what grounds? - It's time to get corporate America's attention. Doesn't matter what grounds are ... just mere fact that a lawsuit has been filed by enough people can send shivers down spines of any executive and force change. And I'm sure that any lawyer worth his 50% commission can think of any number of laws that may have been violated.
The point is we (individuals) need to tell corporations that we will not be treated as commodities. There are many ways to do this, and lawsuits are just one of them.
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