but with Microsoft's record how many updates and how often will they occur ?

* MICROSOFT UPGRADES MSN'S ANTISPAM TOOLS

Microsoft announced late last week that it has significantly updated the antispam tools for its MSN family of Internet services, including Hotmail, in an effort to protect hundreds of millions of people from unwanted email.

Microsoft notes that since the update, it now blocks more than 2.4 billion spam messages each day, or about 80 percent of the total volume of email it routes to its customers. The company will also use the technology behind the MSN antispam tools in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Office 2003, the company says.

"Spam is no longer just an inconvenience for consumers and the online industry; it has become a major problem, one that makes it hard for people to sort through their personal email and reduces productivity," said Lisa Gurry, the group product manager for MSN at Microsoft.

MSN drew a line in the sand with MSN 8 and its powerful spam-fighting tools. With these and other tools, as well as increased consumer education, we are striving to deliver the best resources to significantly reduce the flow of spam.

Recent updates to the antispam technology in MSN and Hotmail add the ability to block images in HTML messages unless the sender is in the recipient's Contacts list. This feature can prevent spam senders from confirming that the message was read, which can result in the recipient getting more spam in the future. The beta release of Microsoft Office 2003 will also include this feature.

Additionally, Microsoft recently added a new feature to MSN and Hotmail called Human Interactive Proof (HIP), which prevents spammers from anonymously and automatically creating temporary Hotmail accounts to send spam; the company says this effort has reduced new email account creation by 20 percent.