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Sun is dropping its free email service MySun from March 24, in a house clearing exercise.

In an email to users last week, Sun said: "We have come to the conclusion that we can no longer support a free email service as it is currently offered to MySun subscribers.

"Effective March 24th 2003, we will discontinue the MySun email service.

"We are notifying you of this change now in order to give you enough time to identify an alternative email solution and move your messages to a new provider," it adds.

Intended primarily as a conduit for marketing to Sun users and the like, the MySun email service was launched around the time Microsoft acquired Hotmail some years ago. Even though Sun execs rarely tired of pointed out that Hotmail's backend ran on Solaris servers, the thinking was they wanted to be able to offer an alternative of their own.

When job cuts are flying around the industry, it's hard to justify running a free email service - especially when there is plenty competition. User numbers for MySun aren't available but it is reasonably safe to infer that the user base was small.

Some MySun users have greeted the decision with sadness, and a little anger that its discontinuation comes without any apology. They tell us the service (though not without its quirks) is superior to more popular options such as Hotmail.

"It had a customisable login page that you could fill with Sun-related content, although from the outset it certainly had great functionality for a Web-based service," MySun user Gerry Smith tells us.

He liked features such as auto-forwarding of received email, "noticeably better uptime performance than Hotmail", POP3 account access, priority flag and read/delivery notifications from mail servers and 10MB Inbox space.

MySun was "always a bit clunky to use (i.e. two browser windows) but worth the hassle," Smith said, adding that he will miss the service. ®

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