Whoever said competition isn't good for innovation or the consumer? Get a grip. The last 5 years have seen more competition between Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google in the realm of online services than ever before. For years my Yahoo! Mail account was stuck at a tiny 6MB limit (a grandfathered amount higher than the 4MB they gave new users for a long time). Google's AJAXian GMail opened up with 1 gigabyte
of space and both Yahoo and Microsoft were forced to respond with similar size upgrades. Indeed, they have even been pushing to improve their user interfaces. Microsoft's new interface, called Kahuna, is in beta, and was reviewed here
Kahuna is a huge improvement over Hotmail, Microsoft's current service, and GMail, the Google-owned service with which it is clearly competing. Offering the best functionality from Web-based offerings like OWA as well as even Windows-based email clients such as Outlook, Kahuna is surprisingly full-featured.
Who said Microsoft can't innovate? They just need a bit of a push, and pressure from companies the likes of Google who are powerful enough to give them a run for their money. It took Netscape to get MS off their asses and make a truly powerful browser out of Internet Explorer back in the mid 90's but, when it was finally done, it was the fastest thing around for quite awhile.
Yahoo's new interface is also in beta (from Jeremy Zawodny)
the new Yahoo! Mail kicks a lot of ass. For lots of people out there, it's going to be the first web-based replacement for Outlook or Outlook express they've ever seen.
So whose going to have the killer email package out there? Is Google going to be able to keep all the converts it has made? Will people flock back to Yahoo and Hotmail now that there will be a new flashy interface to play with? I don't know, but I can't imagine all this competition being a bad thing.
Now let's bring on Linux and OS X in a serious way. I don't necessarily want to see Windows disappear off the face of the planet but then again, it could certainly use a kick in the butt.