From: Stephen Williamson
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 2:04 PM
Updated: July 2018 Subject: What do people, in general, use, when they read and send emails

Reading (and sending) Emails

According to, who opened the headers of the 15 billion emails that they monitored in 2017

Opened on Mobiles: Total 47% (Up 3% on May 2014)

In fact, total is 66½%: 39% Apple 27½% Google if we include the estimate 19½% who accessed their Gmail account on their mobile.
75 percent of Gmail users access their accounts on mobile devices. Gmail now has 900 million users. – Google / TechCrunch "I/O developers conference” (May 2015)". Note, Gmail access doesn't differentiate between mobiles and desktops

Yes, Apple rule. Their hardware though has always been more "cutting edge", especially with Steve Jobs as the CEO, ever since 1978-1979 when the Apple II was the "coolest thing around", according to Bill Gates.

Opened via Web Mail accounts: Total 32% (Up 9% on May 2014)

and here, Google rule, well the software is all free (except for those "sponsored ads" )

Opened on Desktops via POP3-Post Office Protocol or IMAP-Internet Message Access Protocol: Total 14% (Down 10% on May 2014)

Opened on Desktops via WebMail: Total 12½% if we assume 6½% accessed their Gmail account on their desktop.
Making desktop total: 26½%

And here, Microsoft continues to lead at 11% with its three desktop products, though it has lost ground to Google. Still, I think the more conservative offices (private and government) appreciate the "longevity" in Microsoft's software. Electronic documents from the 1980's and 1990's, created with Wordstar, WordPerfect and Word, Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro and dBASE can still be converted and read on WindowsXP and Windows7,8,10 machines today, years after the paper records have disappeared. Can be useful if "enemies" are taking you to court.

Opened via another mobile/webmail/desktop program: Total 7% (Down 2% on May 2014)


Now, with regard to the "rules", the protocols involved, click here for short definitions of the differences between WebMail, POP3 and IMAP.

More technically, and to summarize:

  1. Between networks, email is sent using SMTP-Simple Mail Transport Protocol (created in 1982). The rules are covered in RFC 821.
  2. POP (created in 1984), where the emails are downloaded to your local desktop and then normally deleted, is a retrieval protocol only, with the rules covered in RFC 1939.
  3. IMAP (created in 1986) where the emails remain permanently on a central server, is another retrieval protocol, covered in RFC 3501.
    As a bynote, Microsoft then developed MAPI (sometimes called Messaging API) as a way for desktops, mobile phones and tablets to be able to communicate with Microsoft Exchange servers using IMAP style syncing of emails, contacts and calendars.
  4. All WebMail providers give you a web page interface to your mailbox, and then apply and use SMTP and IMAP protocols, as specified in these RFC documents.
    So when you send an email (including any attachments) via a WebMail provider, you are actually submitting a form (HTTP), through your ISP, up to the WebMail provider's web server. Noting too, that if there's a long delay in any attachment arriving, the attachment may well be dropped. Then the WebMail provider hands the email over to its mail server (SMTP).
    Trust that's clearer.

** End of report