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

Webmail applications vs Email applications

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

Opened via Webmail: Total 32% (Up 9% on May 2014)

And here, Google rule, well the software is all free (except for those "sponsored ads").
**According to Google, 75 percent of Gmail users access their accounts on mobile devices. Gmail now has 900 million users - TechCrunch - Google's I/O developers conference (May 2015). Note, independent verification of this statistic is unavailable as Gmail access doesn't differentiate between mobiles and desktops

Opened via Apple Mail: Total 46% (Down 1% on May 2014)

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 Other: Total 22% (Down 8% on May 2014)

And here, Microsoft Outlook retains its presence though as an overall percentage it has lost considerable ground. 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.

Mobile total at present is 66½% (plus the mobile component in that final 7%): 39% Apple, 27½% Google if we include the estimate 19½% who accessed their Gmail account on their mobile.


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-Post Office Protocol (created in 1984), where the emails are downloaded to your local desktop or mobile and then normally deleted from the server, is a retrieval protocol only, with the rules covered in RFC 1939.
  3. IMAP-Internet Message Access Protocol (created in 1986) where the emails remain permanently on a central server, is another retrieval protocol, covered in RFC 3501.
  4. MAPI-Messaging Application Programming Interface (developed by Microsoft since about 1992), is 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. Click here for further details.
  5. WEBMAIL (created about 1993) 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.
    Click here for further details.

** End of report