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The Top 10 Email Clients

Electronic mail — more commonly known as email — has been around since before the internet and, in fact, was one of the major reasons for the internet’s growth. Now that we’re in the 21st century, email is as relevant as ever. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the biggest email clients, from Lotus to Outlook and webmail services such as Hotmail and Gmail.

Microsoft Outlook

The email client with the biggest market share is Outlook, which has been around since the 1990s and has become firmly entrenched in the business world due to the popularity of Microsoft Windows machines and its inclusion in the Microsoft Office application suite. Outlook is capable of handling email as well as calendar, tasks, contacts and more.


The most popular of the free web-based email services with around 364 million users worldwide, Hotmail offers its users unlimited storage and integration with other MSN products, including Windows Live Messenger. Hotmail was the first web-based email service, and its name is a reference to HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the encoding language used on the Web.

Yahoo! Mail

Second on the list of most popular web mail services with around 291 million users,  Yahoo! Mail (always spelt with the exclamation point!) first appeared in 1997 and has been a constant challenger to Hotmail since its inception. Yahoo recently introduced a new user interface with tabbed email viewing, improved performance and Facebook integration.


Launched by web giants Google in 2004, Gmail has made rapid ground on the web mail giants Hotmail and Yahoo! with around 260 million users worldwide. Noted by web developers for its pioneering use of Ajax, Gmail integrates closely with other Google offerings, including its iconic search engine and the recently introduced social networking offering, Google Plus.

Apple Mail

While Apple is making a bigger dent into the personal PC market, it’s still not really that big in the business world, unless you find yourself in the media and design industry, where Apple machines are prevalent. Apple Mail is included free with every Mac OS X operating system and is heavily integrated with other OS X applications.

iOS Device Email

With the rapid growth of smartphones spearheaded by Apple’s iOS operating system, the email offering of these devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch) has seen a boom in use in recent years. iDevices, as they’re commonly known, support HTML email which allows users to send basic HTML mails as well as attachments. Email notifications are “pushed” through to the user’s home screen.

Android Device Email

Following Apple in the smartphone stakes is Android, from the creators of Gmail, Google. The Android operating system appears on a range of different phones (as opposed to iOS, which only appears on Apple’s own devices). In certain parts of the world, Android is growing even more rapidly than iOS and, as such, its email client is commonly used.


While Mozilla is most well-known for its open-source browser, Firefox, it also has a worthy email application known as Thunderbird. Mozilla software is famous for its capacity for extended functionality, and Thunderbird is no exception. With the addition of Lightning, another Mozilla product, Thunderbird is capable of scheduling and task management functionality.

Windows Live Mail (Desktop)

While Outlook is offered by Microsoft as part of its Office suite, Windows Live Mail is free with Microsoft’s downloadable Windows Live Essentials set of products. Since it is an extension of Microsoft’s previously free Outlook Express software, it’s first version starts at 12 instead of 1.

Lotus Notes

Not an email client in itself, but rather an integrated desktop client used for accessing email, calendars, applications and a range of other functionality, Lotus Notes has been popular in business use since the early 1990s. These days, with many businesses turning towards Microsoft products, many businesses are converting NSF to PST (NSF being the standard file format for Notes, and PST the same for Microsoft). However, Lotus Notes is still common enough in businesses around the world.

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