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Google dumps ISP email support. Virgin Media takes ball, stomps home

Telco tells customers: The big boy didn't wanna play any more

Virgin Media plans to shunt its email users over to an in-house system after Google told the cable company that it was ditching Gmail support for ISPs.

The Register heard from a number of readers who have been told in recent days about the upcoming changes to the mail service.

Virgin Media switched over to Gmail in 2009 and it seemed sorry to see Google go.

“Unfortunately Google are no longer supporting ISP email accounts so we needed to find an alternative solution in order to support our customers going forward. We are intending to migrate our email service to a new platform soon," a spokesman for the firm told El Reg on Tuesday morning.

We asked if the new service had been developed in-house and also wanted to know if a third party and/or white label product was involved.

“This is an in-house platform built in conjunction with our parent company Liberty Global, utilising several specialist third parties to deliver various elements of the solution," Virgin Media's spokesman said.

The Reg has asked Google to explain why it had dropped Gmail support for ISPs but the ad giant was yet to respond with comment at time of publication.

Virgin Media has been telling subscribers that its email system "is about to get a mini-makeover" with the promise of "bringing you an even better service" than Gmail. It said:

Over the next three months, we’ll move from our old Google-based service to an all-new, and improved Virgin Media email service.

But don’t worry, all your old emails and contacts will be transferred over, safe and sound. Your email address and password will stay exactly the same too.

In fact, if you use our Webmail service, the main thing that’ll change is how the email service looks. Instead of the familiar Google layout, you’ll see our simple new Virgin Media email layout.

The company added that customers will need to have up-to-date browsers installed to avoid hiccups with the service. Filters, POP and rules will have to be set up afresh on the new mail system.

It plans to switch all of its 4.6 million broadband subscribers over by September this year.

Rival Sky ditched Gmail in favour of Yahoo! back in April 2013 – upsetting its customers in the process.

One month later, BT said it was abandoning the Purple Palace in favour of a white label product from San Mateo, California-based Critical Path Inc.

But things didn't exactly go according to plan, and the one-time state monopoly remains wedded to Yahoo! after its migration plans seemingly flopped. ®

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