During the first 30 years of email, different email systems had very different ways of representing content. For example, address formats, and the representation of rich text in the main message, varied. It was therefore difficult to connect different email systems.

The X.400 standards, mainly published in 1984-1988, were an attempt to introduce consistency, and thus facilitate interconnectivity. Concurrently, internet-based email standards were also developed.

By about 1994, the internet-based approach, rather than the X.400/X.500 approach, became dominant. This was mainly due to the:

  • Spread of the internet
  • Simplicity of using internet rather than X.400 email addresses
  • Cheapness of internet mail. With X.400, service providers would charge for email transmission; with internet mail, once you had an internet connection in place, it was free.

--David Ferris

One comment

  1. Debbie
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    The first version of X.400 was developed during the 1980-1984 study period.

    • David Ferris
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

      Thanks again Debbie, I hope I have clarified the text now to your satisfaction–let me know if not.–David Ferris

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