Microsoft's Hotmail has a bit of a reputation for having inadequate spam filters. A new study by Cascade Insight, though, argues that Hotmail actually provides better spam protection than its competitors Gmail and Yahoo Mail. In the study, Hotmail offered slightly better performance than Gmail and was significantly better than Yahoo at detecting unwanted email. Microsoft, which has been fighting public perception that Hotmail is generally behind the times, is obviously quite proud of these results.

Cascade Insights seeded fresh email accounts on all three providers by registering these new email addresses with known ham and spam sites. The researchers then sat back and waited for the spam to arrive. The study was conducted in November and December 2011. Normal inboxes, of course, don't get this much spam, but Cascade Insight argues that this methodology allows it to objectively compare the spam performance of these three different providers.

Talking about the study today, Microsoft pointed out that the average amount of spam in its Hotmail inboxes has decreased from 30% in 2006 to just 3% today. In total, Microsoft announced last year, spam in its Hotmail inboxes is down 90% from its peak. Customer complaints about spam in Hotmail have also dropped 40% over the past year.

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