Hot-on-the-heels of Google's announcement that it will start selling additional storage space to be used across it's applications, Microsoft has reportedly now announced increasing the storage limit for Windows Live Hotmail from 2GB to 5GB.
The move places Microsoft squarely ahead of Google yet far behind Yahoo!'s unlimited storage offering.
A company blog says the changes will be rolled out over the next couple of weeks together with a series of other upgrades.
Significantly, users will now be able to store 10GB of email data for an annual subscription of $14.99. They will be able to forward email from their Hotmail account to a Gmail or any other email account.
Microsoft has announced other improvements including: the ability to shut off the 'Today' feature that shows top news and features on the MSN portal; a new security feature named 'Report phishing' that warns about possible scam Web sites linked to emails; better performance for Hebrew and Arabic writers; prevention of duplication of contact information; and the ability to set an automated response; among others.
Meanwhile, the company blog says Microsoft is also trying to make Hotmail run faster, as well as trying to increase the amount of time that messages are stored in the junk and deleted items folders before being automatically flushed.