Steve Douty, VP-sales marketing at Hotmail, Sunnyvale, Calif., said the company started talking to Microsoft several months ago about a partnership that led to the acquisition. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Hotmail, which becomes part of the Microsoft Network family, will operate independently as a wholly owned subsidiary. Mr. Douty said Microsoft and Hotmail will pursue cross-promotions.
``This merger provides our members with better and more rapid enhancements to the service,'' said Mr. Douty. For Microsoft, ``I think it's adding to their portfolio of free services.''
Microsoft plans to let MSN online service subscribers access their e-mail through Hotmail, allowing MSN subscribers to check e-mail even when they are not accessing the Web through MSN. AOL offers its subscribers a similar feature.
Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.