Similar to Yahoo, Outlook.com, the email service from Microsoft can also recycle inactive email account IDs. Microsoft has had a similar policy with Hotmail and Live ID, and it seems like it has been inherited by Outlook.com as well. Yahoo recently started rolling out the recycled email IDs and even enabled users to pick 5 desired email IDs and get notified once any of that become available at nominal charges.
The only difference is that unlike Yahoo, Microsoft hasn’t made this announcement public yet. According to the Outlook’s terms and agreements, any account which hasn’t been accessed for more than 270 days will be considered inactive and might even get deleted.
The Microsoft Services Agreement states:
The Microsoft branded services require that you sign in to your Microsoft account periodically, at a minimum of every 270 days, to keep the Microsoft branded services portion of the services active, unless provided otherwise in an offer for a paid portion of the services. If you fail to sign in during this period, we may cancel your access to the Microsoft branded services. If the Microsoft branded services are cancelled due to your failure to sign in, your data may be permanently deleted from our servers.
What is not mentioned is that the deleted email IDs could be made available to the public in another 360 days duration from the deletion of the account. Microsoft in an email to a Dutch website Webwereld confirmed this:
“…periodically, at a minimum of every 270 days, to keep the Microsoft branded services portion of the services active.” Else “we may cancel your access” and “your data may be permanently deleted from our servers.” the email account is automatically queued for deletion from our servers. Then, after a total of 360 days, the email account name is made available again.,”
Privacy concerns with recycled email IDs
Last week we saw how many recycled Yahoo emails were still receiving emails addressed to the past holder of that email account. The question still persists, has Microsoft figured a way out to tackle with such situations?