AltaVista is pulling the plug on its free Web-based email service at the end of March.
The move comes as the once-great Internet portal retreats from non-core activities and focuses on its search engine business.
In a statement the company said: "AltaVista Company is discontinuing its free Web-based consumer e-mail service...effective 12:00pm (noon, PST), March 31, 2002.
"We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you and we sincerely thank you for your loyalty over the years," it said.
AltaVista has around 400,000 email accounts although only around half of them are active.
Earlier this week free Web mail service, another.com, said it planned to charge existing users £15 a year to use its service. ®