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

Hi all

Iíve been looking to put this article together for a while now. Mostly everything Iíve read has either been too theoretical i.e. inapplicable to real life situations, or too one-sided, a conflict of interest due to a desire to sell you something .

So hereís the web page, spent a few days putting it together, yep, appreciate any feedback. Updated September 2017

Blessings all Steve


Reading (and sending) Emails

According to, the most popular client programs for opening (and presumably reading) the 1.1 billion emails that they monitored in September 2017 were as follows:

Opened on Mobiles: Total 48% (Up 4% on May 2014)

Yes, Apple well and truly rule. Their hardware 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 30% (Up 7% 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 16% (Down 8% on May 2014)

And here, Apple Macs have a slight edge over Microsoft Outlook which has dropped quite a lot in worldwide popularity. 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 6% (Down 3% 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